I am a low cost Brooklyn, New York based Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney. My fees for representation of clients start at $999 plus court filing fees. I file cases in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. My office is conveniently located in Downtown Brooklyn.
Most people facing financial distress resist filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection for months or even years due to fear. Fear that the process will be complicated. Fear of losing valued property. And fear that legal and court fees will almost cancel out the savings that bankruptcy can bring.
I believe that the failure to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy when needed is unfortunate because bankruptcy protection is highly effective in assisting individuals and families obtain a fresh start. I have assisted hundreds of clients in bankruptcy proceedings. In virtually every instance the result has been the same: satisfaction that a fast and affordable legal process led to a significant reduction in debt and an increase in financial freedom. A common comment I hear from my clients after completing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is “I wish I’d done this years ago”.
When you hire me to handle your Chapter 7 bankruptcy you pay one affordable fee starting at $999 (plus court fees & depending upon the complexity of your case). For this fee, I will:
- Bring 10 plus years of Chapter 7 bankruptcy law legal experience to your case, ensuring that the maximum amount of debt is discharged.
- Work to ensure that your legal process is smooth, fast and efficient. I complete the required forms, file them, attend the 341 Meeting of the Creditors and minimize your exposure to the hassles of the legal process.
- Lessen your anxiety by keeping you informed at each step of the proceedings
How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
The good thing about hiring an attorney to handle your bankruptcy is that you won’t need to understand the full complexities of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s important, though, that you understand its advantages.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often called the “fresh start” bankruptcy because it provides just that: it can “reset” your finances so that you no longer live under the crushing burden of unmanageable debt.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy doesn't involve a complicated repayment plan like Chapter 13 bankruptcy can. Instead, in its simplest form, it allows for the discharge, or “forgiveness”, of non-exempt debt. This debt can include:
- Medical-related debt
- Credit card debt
- Debt owed directly to specific retailers
- Pay day loans
- Utility bills
- Cell phone bills
- Deficiency balances from foreclosures and repossession
The filing of a Chapter 7 petition will:
- Release your frozen bank accounts
- Stop harassment by creditors
- Stop all wage garnishments
- Stop any Foreclosure proceedings
- Stop eviction (if certain requirements are met)
In order to offset creditors’ losses due to debt forgiveness, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filer’s non-exempt property is sold. Non-exempt property can include luxury items, “extra” vehicles and second homes. Exempt property is not sold and most often includes the filer’s residence, tools of a trade, public benefits, retirement accounts and household property like clothes and furniture. At least one vehicle will also likely be classified as exempt.
I have filed multiple bankruptcy cases in my 12 years as an attorney and discharged millions of dollars in debt for my clients.
Call me to:
Protect your assets. Maintain your sanity! Move on with your life.
My fees are as follows:
- $999 plus filing fees for debt under $35,000.
- $1199 plus filing fees for debt between $35,001 and $100,000.
- For debt above $100,000 I have reasonable fees, please come in for a free phone consultation.
Learn More from a Bankruptcy Law Professional
If your debt threatens to hijack your future or the future of your family, consider learning more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s affordable and, when you hire me, easy and does not involve the unexpected sale of property. Hire an experienced low cost New York Bankruptcy Lawyer Now! The Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC.
CALL 718-864-2011 if you want to eliminate ALL of your Debt Now. Please call me for a free phone consultation
Attorney advertising. We are a Debt Relief Agency that assists people to file for Bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re drowning financially, then Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you. We’ve prepared this FAQ to help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.
We understand that you are going through a deeply stressful time. Often, getting the help you need is all that it takes to bring you some relief. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions that are not answered in this FAQ.
What is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, a trustee sells your assets to liquidate your debts. A bankruptcy trustee oversees the sale of these assets, and then distributes them. After that, your legal obligation to pay your debts is discharged, and you get a fresh start.
Note that bankruptcy only discharges your legal obligation to pay the debt. It will not make those debts disappear from your credit report. Instead, they will continue to appear with a notation that they were discharged in a Bankruptcy until they fall off of the credit report in 7 years. In addition, your credit report will continue to show that you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for the next 10 years.
Would a debt management company be a better choice?
Not usually. Often, they mess up your credit report even worse than bankruptcy does. They also charge you fees, and often those fees can add up to an amount of $200 to $500, which in many cases is enough to at least pay off a single bill.
Debt management companies also cannot shield you from any of the legal consequences of failing to pay your debts. They don’t really have the special relationships with creditors that they often claim to have. Indeed, they tend to simply start issuing “micropayments” to each creditor out of the monthly fee you are paying them without necessarily negotiating with these creditors at all. Many creditors will continue to tack on late fees in the face of a $1 to $10 a month payment, since it falls well short of the agreed upon monthly payment amount.
Some creditors will refuse to accept these tiny payments at all. Often, debt management companies fail to tell consumers that the companies did not want to play along, and so consumers are blindsided when they find out they’re about to suffer a repossession anyway, or are about to be sued. After all, they’ve been faithfully making payments to the debt management company every month.
How will I live if all of my assets are being sold?
Some of your assets will be exempt. This exempt property includes protected retirement plans such as IRAs or 401Ks, your home equity, $4000 worth of vehicle equity (or the vehicle itself if it is less than $4000), up to $10,000 in household goods, furniture, and clothing, your wedding rings, and your televisions. Life insurance benefits and annuities are usually exempt as well, as are alimony payments, child support payments, workman’s comp benefits and up to $7500 of personal injury claims.
If a personal injury claim is awarded for a loss of future earnings then they, too, are exempt if they are necessary to your support. And if you’re not claiming the home equity exemption then you can even exempt up to $5000 in cash, stored in your checking or savings accounts, instead.
Keep in mind that these are the exemptions outlined by the State of New York. In some cases, it’s better to use the federal exemptions instead. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can help you decide which exemptions are a better choice for your unique situation.
Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cover all debts?
No. You cannot discharge some debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This includes alimony, child support, some taxes, student loans, and any fraudulent debts.
If you fail to list a debt on your Chapter 7 forms then that debt will not be discharged either.
In addition, you can’t discharge debts for fines and penalties, or for debts incurred for injuries caused by another if you were driving while intoxicated. You also can’t receive a discharge for debts that were incurred while causing deliberate, malicious injury to the person or property of another.
Finally, if you tried to discharge the debt in a past bankruptcy case but were unable to do so then it will not be possible to discharge that debt in this bankruptcy case.
How do I know Chapter 7 is right for me?
First, look at the debts that you owe. Are most of them debts that could be discharged by a Chapter 7 case. Next, look at your assets. Chapter 7 is often more advantageous to individuals with fewer assets, since they ultimately have less to lose. In addition, if you have enough disposable income to pay your debts than a rework of your assets and budget is advisable—Chapter 7 cases do get dismissed if the Trustee determines that you do have the means to pay your debts.
Finally, make sure that you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You are not eligible if you:
- Have intentionally dismissed a Chapter 7 case within the past 180 days.
- Have received a Chapter 7 discharge within the past 8 years.
- Have received a Chapter 13 discharge within the last 6 years.
- Have enough disposable income to service your debt, as defined by the amount of money you have left after paying your living expenses and the living expenses of any dependents.
Call us if you are not sure whether you meet the requirements, and we will have a look at your unique situation.
What is a Reaffirmation Agreement?
A Reaffirmation Agreement allows you to hold on to some secured debts—usually your home and your car. This means that you are choosing to keep and pay for that debt. You have to pay any back payments on your account in order to reaffirm your debt.
For example, your home equity alone may not be enough to allow you to keep your home without reaffirming the debt. You can continue to pay your mortgage and keep your house. However, if you missed several months of mortgage payments then you would have to account for those missed mortgage payments before you could resume your agreement with your lender.
How does a bankruptcy attorney help me during my Chapter 7 case?
Bankruptcy is just as complex as any other legal matter is. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can help ensure that you do not hurt your case by missing vital steps in the process. In fact, most people who go into bankruptcy cases pro per (that is, choosing to represent themselves) make serious mistakes which ultimately cause the Trustee to dismiss their case.
In addition, a good bankruptcy attorney can generally help you hold on to more of your assets so that you live more comfortably when the bankruptcy is discharged. We also examine your total financial picture to help you discover whether or not this is really your best option.
Finally, at times obstacles do arise in bankruptcy cases. We can be there to help you overcome those obstacles so that your case proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Can my employer fire me for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
No. First, the employer isn’t necessarily informed at all. Sometimes your employer will, however, receive a call from the Trustee to verify your employment and stated salary.
Second, an employer who fires you because you filed for bankruptcy opens himself up to legal consequences because you could then sue for damages.
However, you should be aware that bankruptcy will be on your credit report, and many employers do pull credit reports before extending a job offer. There are no remedies available if a prospective employer chooses not to hire you on the basis of your bankruptcy. Your current job should be safe, but yes, in some cases, the bankruptcy may harm future job prospects. However, most people who file bankruptcy already have very bad credit to begin with, and those credit issues might well bar you from the very same jobs.
What do I need to know about my bankruptcy Trustee?
Your trustee is an officer of the court, and you are required to cooperate with this individual. The Trustee will collect and sell your non-exempt property. He or she will then be responsible for distributing the proceeds.
The trustee may also examine your financial affairs. For example, he or she may look back at asset transfers made up to 10 years ago to determine whether or not these transfers were made with an intent to defraud creditors. The Trustee can also send an appraiser to your home to determine whether or not you have undervalued your possessions. Finally, the Bankruptcy Trustee does have the power to dismiss your case.
What does the Chapter 7 process look like?
First, your attorney will file a Bankruptcy Petition on your behalf. You will have to provide your attorney with a great deal of financial information so that it may be included in your petition, so it may be helpful to gather all of this information before you call. You’ll want to include any information you have about your financial history, including bank statements, deeds for your assets and property, debts, the names and addresses of your creditors, information about income sources, and anything else that you can think of if it has to do with the money flowing into and out of your life on a regular basis.
Once the petition is filed you will receive an “Automatic Stay.” This Automatic Stay brings all collection action to a temporary halt, which means all phone calls, letters, garnishments, lawsuits, or repossessions come to an immediate halt. This gives you some breathing room to pursue your case. Of course, the Automatic Stay goes away if your Bankruptcy case is dismissed, and is no longer necessary if your debts are ultimately discharged. Some creditors are a bit slow to get the memo, so just refer them to your attorney if you happen to get a call after you file.
The court then appoints the Bankruptcy Trustee. Again, it is important to provide the Trustee with any information that he or she may ask for.
You will be assigned a date for a Creditor’s Meeting about 3-4 weeks later. You’ll meet with the Trustee at this meeting, as well as any creditors who might want to challenge your bankruptcy case. It’s quite rare for creditors to choose to show up, but they do have the right to do so. You should at least remain prepared for the possibility.
If the Trustee approves your case then your assets will be sold, and the creditors will receive the proceeds. If any of the proceeds are exempt, that amount will go to you. Barring any complications you should receive your discharge within 4-6 weeks.
What are the long-term impacts of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
As bankruptcy attorneys we hear a lot of fears about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Many of our clients are afraid they’ll never be able to apply for an apartment, get utilities in their own name, or take out a car loan ever again.
In truth, bankruptcy often makes your credit score better in the short-term, since you’re wiping out a bunch of obligations that you didn’t have before. You may have to pay bigger deposits on certain items, but you’ll be able to live a normal life. You’ll even be able to rebuild your credit. People take out credit cards, car loans, and home loans after bankruptcy all the time.
The key is to make sure that you resolve whatever issues brought you to the bankruptcy in the first place. If it was a one-time event like a divorce, a major medical issue, or some other misfortune then you can simply sit back and enjoy your fresh start. If you dealt with persistent destructive financial patterns then take the financial counseling that you will receive during your bankruptcy (fulfilling a requirement of the law) to heart. If you do, you’ll enjoy a much brighter financial future after taking advantage of this important legal remedy.