A bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN from Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC has handled many cases of bankruptcy, and has seen how this resource can help people. A number of myths and misperceptions surround the concept of bankruptcy as it is generally portrayed in American popular culture. For example, a widespread myth exists that filing for bankruptcy devastates an individual’s credit permanently. In reality, bankruptcy only remains on an individual’s credit report for roughly seven years. In addition, the credit-related challenges associated with bankruptcy lessen over time, even though the bankruptcy itself is visible on the individual’s credit report.
This myth serves as only a single example of how much more complex the realities of bankruptcy are when compared to popular over-generalizations about this legal and financial tool. It is partially because the bankruptcy process is nuanced that it is generally a good idea to speak with an experienced lawyer before dismissing it as a viable option for you and your family. If you are struggling financially, filing for bankruptcy may provide you with a host of valuable benefits that will allow you to have a healthier financial future than you would if you simply continued to grapple with overwhelming debt.
Please consider scheduling a consultation with Darrell Castle & Associates PLLC today. The sooner you act, the more legal and financial options are likely to remain available to you.
Preparing for an Initial Bankruptcy Consultation
When preparing for a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer, it is important to write down any questions you may have about your financial situation, the bankruptcy process generally and/or the kind of attorney-client relationship you can expect when working with a bankruptcy lawyer. As discussions about filing for bankruptcy can be somewhat stressful, it is important not to rely too heavily on your memory at the moment. Writing questions down in advance will help to ensure that you receive the clarifications and guidance you are seeking in regards to important issues.
When you speak with a Memphis, TN bankruptcy lawyer, we will take time to learn about your family’s unique situation. After we better understand your current circumstances, we will be able to advise you about your legal options. Filing for bankruptcy may or may not be your best option at this time. If bankruptcy may be a healthy choice for you and your family, we will talk to you about the different kinds of bankruptcy available and which may serve as an appropriate option.
What Not To Do
Paying off debts is stressful, and difficult to say the least. If you are dealing with collection agencies and relentless phone calls, declaring bankruptcy may be the right option.. The laws for bankruptcy vary by state, so it’s important to understand how Tennessee laws differ compared to others. Our team is here to answer any questions you have about bankruptcy and the filing process.
While most people will need to hear about what to do when submitting their bankruptcy filing, there are also things you should not do during this time:
- File late or leave out important information
- Using your retirement funds without necessity
- Purchasing goods and services for luxury on cash advances or credit
- Transferring or selling property for more than it’s worth
- Filing before receiving an inheritance or other valuable asset
- Failing to file your tax returns
- Selling or transferring property for less than its value
Don’t drain your retirement
Most retirement funds can be protected in bankruptcy. Thus, one of the more unfortunate financial errors that people make is withdrawing funds from their retirement account to pay off debts that bankruptcy would eliminate. Before paying off bills, consider talking to a lawyer knowledgeable in bankruptcy for advice.
Don’t give dishonest information
You will be required by law and penalty of perjury to provide accurate and complete details about debts, income, assets, expenses, and other financial history. If you do not submit the entirety of your paperwork, the court may dismiss the case or it could cause delay and more fees.
Don’t Accumulate More Debt
If you run up debts during the couple months before filing bankruptcy, unless it was for necessities of living, a creditor may object to the discharge by stating you had taken out the loan without intention of paying it off (which is otherwise referred to as fraud). Generally, if you used a credit card or cash advance to buy an indulgent item, you may be accused of presumptive fraud, causing your bankruptcy filing to be denied.
Do’s and Don’ts of Bankruptcy Proceedings
Do Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer Immediately
As soon as you start thinking about bankruptcy, you should interview several bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis TN. Many offer a free, no obligation consultation. Having the conversation will help you decide whether and how to file for bankruptcy.
Do Tell Your Attorney Everything
No matter how embarrassed you might feel, it’s better for your attorney from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC to know about every purchase and every debt you have. If your lawyer doesn’t know, she can’t help you protect assets and income.
Do Keep Current Paying for Non-dischargeable Debts
Non-dischargeable debts may include taxes, student loans and child support. Your bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis TN, will be able to advise you on the specifics in your case.
Do Keep Track of Expenses, Deposits and Withdrawals
You need to keep detailed records of every expense, deposit and withdrawal you make, down to the last penny. Bankruptcy will poke into every nook and cranny to make sure you’re being forthright throughout the process.
Do Make Sure to List All Debts
From your $3,000 credit card bill to the $20 you owe your best friend for lunch, bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis TN would advise you to list every debt you currently owe on.
Do List All Assets
In addition to debts, it’s critical to list all your assets. Unless your Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC attorney knows about each asset, he can’t help you protect it in a bankruptcy.
Don’t Leave Out Income
Make sure you account for every source of income, from your job to your side hustle. If you sold plasma or had a yard sale, that counts as income.
Don’t Change Ownership of Property or Money
You may feel tempted to put property or money in a friend’s or family member’s name. The trustee in your bankruptcy will find out, transfer it back and make it harder for you to protect.
Don’t Pay Off Creditors or Family/Friends
This sounds counterintuitive, but you don’t get to pick and choose which creditors you pay back first. Bankruptcy treats all creditors equally and can undo any payoffs you make.
Don’t Withdraw From Your Retirement Accounts
You might consider withdrawing from your retirement accounts. Don’t — your retirement accounts are safe from bankruptcy. Any funds you pull out are not, and may be subject to taxes and penalties that may be non-dischargeable.
Don’t File Until Your Health Is Stable
If you have medical debt, don’t file for bankruptcy until your health is stabilized. You may have more bills coming that you don’t want incurred after you file for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Assistance Is Available
If you are struggling financially and are interested in exploring bankruptcy as an option, please consider scheduling a consultation with our bankruptcy lawyers at your earliest possible convenience. Speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney will allow you to clarify your legal options and make informed decisions moving forward. Bankruptcy may not be the ideal option for everyone. However, this process has helped millions of Americans regain their footing in order to better ensure a healthier financial future.
We look forward to speaking with you about the bankruptcy process and about any additional and/or alternative legal and financial resources that may benefit you and your family. Contact Darrell Castle, PLLC today to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, Tennessee.
Benefits of Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you might wonder if you should hire a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN or not. You’re already under so much financial stress and hiring a lawyer will just cost you more money. However, working with a skilled lawyer may pay off in the long run. Here are some benefits of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer.
- Determine which bankruptcy is right for you. There are two types of bankruptcies people can file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Chapter 7 erases all of your unsecured debt while Chapter 13 requires you to repay your debt over time. A bankruptcy lawyer can assess your unique situation and help you choose the right type of bankruptcy to file. For example, if you’ve recently lost your job, he or she may advise you to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Advise alternatives to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not the right option for everyone. A qualified bankruptcy can help you decide if bankruptcy is appropriate for your situation. If it isn’t, he or she can recommend alternative options, such as a debt management program.
- Prevent you from damaging your case. Declaring bankruptcy comes with many rules. If you are not aware of all these rules, you could unintentionally make an error and get accused of fraud. For example, if you don’t list all of your assets properly, the court may think that you are trying to hide something. A bankruptcy lawyer is aware of all the bankruptcy rules and will prevent you from committing unintentional fraud.
- Protect against creditor harassment. Once you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay will be issued to prevent your creditors from contacting you. However, sometimes creditors may still attempt to call you. This can be frustrating and cause you more stress. That’s another good reason to have an experienced bankruptcy lawyer on your side. If you receive calls from your creditors, you can just tell them to contact your lawyer.
- Negotiate with creditors. A reputable bankruptcy lawyer will have a lot of experience negotiating agreements with creditors. Therefore, he or she can improve your chances of getting a fair deal. For instance, if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your lawyer may negotiate with your creditors to let you keep your home.
How to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy
It is common knowledge that filing for bankruptcy can lower your credit rating. This can make some people reluctant about declaring bankruptcy. However, with a little effort, it is possible to repair your credit over time. Here are some tips for rebuilding your credit score after bankruptcy.
- Apply for a secured credit card. Getting new credit is one of the best ways to start rebuilding your credit score. However, it can be difficult to get approved for traditional credit cards right after declaring bankruptcy. In this case, it may be beneficial to apply for a secured credit card, which requires a cash deposit. If you make timely payments on this credit card every month, you may be able to qualify for traditional credit cards in time.
- Continue to pay non-bankruptcy accounts. Not all debt gets canceled in bankruptcy. If you have secured debts, like student loans or child support, keep up with these payments. If you pay down these balances, it will lower your debt to income ratio and boost your credit rating.
- Make timely payments with new credit cards. Once you are able to get approved for new lines of credit, you will want to make sure that you make all your payments on time. If you have trouble remembering to make your payments every month, consider enrolling in autopay.
- Check your credit report to make sure your bankruptcy is recorded. Credit reports can sometimes contain errors. For example, instead of showing your debt discharged from bankruptcy, it might show the debt as late. That is why your bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN may recommend checking your credit report after bankruptcy to make sure that it was properly recorded.
- Get a cosigner. If you have trouble getting approved for a car loan or other type of loan after bankruptcy, think about asking a close friend or family member to cosign for you. A cosigner is someone who promises to pay back a loan if you don’t. If you make timely payments on a loan cosigned by someone else, it can help your credit score.
- Keep your credit card balances low. Ideally, you will want to keep your credit card utilization at 30 percent or less. This shows creditors that you’re a responsible borrower, which may help increase your credit rating.