hundred dollar bills on top of gavelBankruptcy Lawyers Memphis, TN

If you are thinking about declaring bankruptcy, you may want to speak to bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis, TN. Bankruptcy is a complex process, so it is wise to work with someone knowledgeable and experienced. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about bankruptcy.

Will Filing Bankruptcy Prevent a Lawsuit?

If you are far behind on your credit card bills and loans, you may worry about your creditors filing lawsuits against you. However, once you declare bankruptcy, the court will issue an automatic stay, which stops all collection activity, including lawsuits. 

How Does Bankruptcy Work?

There are two types of bankruptcy debtors can file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your trustee will sell assets that can’t be protected with bankruptcy exemption and use the proceeds to pay off your debts. 

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you pay back all or some of your debts with a repayment plan. 

How Long Does Bankruptcy Take?

How long the process takes will depend on the type of bankruptcy you decide to file. Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically takes between four and six months to resolve while Chapter 13 bankruptcy takes between three and five years to finish.

Will My Retirement Account Be Safe?

Many people worry about their retirement accounts being wiped out in bankruptcy. However, most of these accounts are actually protected in bankruptcy. Keep in mind, though, if you take money out of your retirement account before filing bankruptcy, the trustee may use that money to repay your creditors.

Is a Bankruptcy Lawyer Worth the Money?

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you’re likely struggling financially and may wonder if you can afford bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis, TN. However, working with a qualified lawyer may help you avoid making mistakes during the process, which may help you save money.

Will My Credit Be Ruined Forever?

Another common fear people have about filing bankruptcy is what it will do to their credit rating. However, if you’re behind on your bills, your credit score has likely already taken a hit. While bankruptcy will lower your credit score initially, you can improve it over time. For instance, you can apply for a secured credit card. Once you make several timely payments, you may qualify for traditional credit cards.

How to Prepare for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is a huge step in getting rid of your debts and starting over financially. However, in order for the process to be successful, you have to prepare properly for it. Here are some tips to get ready for bankruptcy.

  • Stop paying unsecured debts. In bankruptcy, most of your unsecured debts, such as credit card and medical bills, will be discharged. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to continue paying these bills. However, if you have secured debts, like child support or student loans, you should continue paying those bills.
  • Discontinue using your credit cards. The last thing you want to do right is accumulate more debt. If you create more debt while filing for bankruptcy, those new charges won’t be discharged. Use your debit card or cash to pay for necessary expenses.
  • Make a list of your assets. When you file for bankruptcy, you are required to disclose all of your assets, including your home, vehicle and financial accounts. Doing so will help determine your capacity to pay your creditors. If you purposely leave out certain assets, your bankruptcy case may be rejected.
  • Establish a budget. If you are getting ready to file for bankruptcy, it is important to create a tighter budget. Otherwise, you may end up in the same financial situation again. Take a close at all of your current expenses and see what you can realistically cut out. For example, you could cut out restaurant trips and cook at home more. If you have streaming services that you barely use, you may want to get rid of those too. While creating a tighter budget may be difficult at first, it is the wise thing to do.
  • Talk to a lawyer. If you’re considering bankruptcy, it’s a good idea to consult bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis, TN. Bankruptcy is a complex process, so you want someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side. A lawyer can help you file the paperwork accurately and on time and answer all of your questions.
  • Attend credit counseling. People who want to file for bankruptcy are required to go to credit counseling first. During these sessions, a counselor will help you prepare a budget and determine if bankruptcy is the right option for you. After finishing the counseling, you will receive a certificate that you must show to the court.

How Are Damages Assessed?

Damages are assessed based on what you can prove (usually with receipts of cost, traffic cams, etc.), and who was at fault. Your recovery amount can be reduced if you were also at fault in causing the accident. If you’re more than 49% at fault, Tennessee’s comparative fault law bars you from bringing a lawsuit. Thus, it’s imperative that you hire the best car accident lawyer Memphis TN has to offer. Choose Darrell Castle & Associates to ensure maximum recovery.

That aside, damages for your personal injury lawsuit are broken into compensatory damages, nominal damages, and punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are further divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the damages that you can easily calculate, often because there’s a receipt involved. These are your lost earnings from work due to days you needed to miss while recovering or hospitalized, hospital bills, ambulance transportation bill, and so on. Your non-economic compensatory damages are the various types of emotional ailments you can request recovery for, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment. Regarding the latter, their amounts can be estimated based on whether you required therapy, you became so afraid of getting into another accident that you stopped driving, you began having nightmares, etc.

Nominal Damages

Nominal damages are a minimal dollar amount that a judge awards you when you haven’t suffered any injury other than slight inconvenience. This amount is also awarded simply to prove that your rights as a driver were violated and that another driver is at fault. Although nominal damages can be as low as $1, you should consider seeking this damage type if you’d like to pursue punitive damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are more about teaching the at-fault driver or at-fault manufacturing company a lesson than they are about making you whole. Punitive damages serve to punish the defendant for committing malicious, reckless, or wanton acts–acts that supersede simple negligence. In Tennessee, this amount is capped at $500,000 or twice the amount of your compensatory award, whichever is the higher amount.

What Are Common Car Accident Causes?

There are many reasons as to why car accidents occur. Sometimes, the fault falls on multiple parties’ hands. When multiple people or factors are involved, you’re entitled to sue multiple parties. For example, suppose that driver Tom is drunk and hits driver Sarah. Driver Sarah was texting and driving, so she didn’t see Tom until it was too late to swerve out of the way. Driver Sarah then hits your car. Both Tom and Sarah were negligent, and both played a role in your injuries.

But suppose driver Tom hits you because his brakes are faulty. When he hits you, your airbag doesn’t deflate due to manufacturing defects, so you sustain greater injuries than what you would have had your airbag worked properly. In this case, manufacturing defects tie into your claim of negligence, and you may sue your car’s manufacturing company, as well as Tom.

Other common causes of car accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving while fatigued
  • Driving under the influence
  • Poor road conditions
  • Hazardous weather conditions
  • Poor training (when referring to commercial vehicles, trucks, semis, and tractor trailers)
  • Speeding
  • Not yielding to the right-of-way
  • Road rage

Schedule a consultation with bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis, TN today.

What Is The Chapter 7 Means Test?

Before considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should become aware of the means test. This test is essentially an income test. The income for your household must be below the family average of fellow Tennessee residents for you to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Bear in mind that your household income may be higher than the average of other Tennessee families, but so long as your deductibles put you below the average, you should qualify. Moreover, a bankruptcy judge won’t consider certain income, such as your social security benefits, national-emergency related income, and Title 10, 37, or 38 in connection to disabled veterans. 

For more information, please contact the best bankruptcy lawyers Memphis TN has to offer, the prestigious lawyers of Darrell Castle & Associates. 

Why Choose Darrell Castle & Associates For Representation?

The decision to file for bankruptcy should never be made without consultation from a legal expert. Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated matter. There are nuances that you may not understand, and effects that you may not have been fully aware of nor prepared for. Thankfully, the knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis TN at Darrell Castle & Associates have years of experience and results you can trust. We have over 30 years of experience to be exact.

Furthermore, it is our mission to “[distinguish] ourselves by surpassing the standard expectations of legal services to people who are experiencing hard times through both personal injury and financial difficulty; and to show to those who reach out for our help the respect and commitment to our work that we would provide our own families; and finally, to provide a living to those who are dedicated to this end.” Not to mention, we offer a 24/7 live answering service for your convenience. Please feel free to contact us at 901-327-2100, or fill out our online form.

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How Does Bankruptcy Work?

There are two types of bankruptcy debtors can file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your trustee will sell assets that can’t be protected with bankruptcy exemption and use the proceeds to pay off your debts. What happens is that your assets are liquidated, and the money from their sales are used to pay off your debts. In some cases, you may have to sell your house, car(s), or both. But this depends, in part, on whether you choose state or federal exemption regarding the assets that you’d like to keep.

Usually, most of your debts, such as unsecured personal loans and credit card debt, are wiped clean, and there is money left over from sales. You can begin rebuilding your life with the money that’s left over.

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you pay back all or some of your debts with a repayment plan. This is a three-to-five-year repayment plan. First, you must demonstrate to a bankruptcy court judge that your assets and anticipated income qualify you for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

Bear in mind that certain debts won’t be cleared (i.e., discharged), regardless of which bankruptcy chapter you file. These are:

  • Spousal support (a.k.a alimony)
  • Child support
  • Unpaid taxes, such as tax liens
  • Debts you accrued from maliciously and willfully damaging someone’s property
  • Debts you accrued from drunk driving when you caused death or personal injury to someone.

5 Most Common Questions People Have About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, sometimes referred to as liquidation bankruptcy, can be a useful tool to help eliminate debt and get back on your feet financially. While it can be a good option for many people, it does come with its share of questions and concerns that can leave you scratching your head. With this list of common questions answered, you can gain insight into how chapter 7 bankruptcy works and whether it’s right for you or not.

How Do I File?

You must first complete a mandatory credit counseling session with an approved provider. Once you have done that, you will need to gather all of your financial documents and fill out the bankruptcy petition. Then, you will need to file the petition with the bankruptcy court in your district.

How Long Does It Take Specifically Just for Chapter 7?

The actual bankruptcy process takes about six months from start to finish. However, the majority of that time is spent waiting for your creditors to respond to your bankruptcy filing. In reality, you can file and be discharged in as little as three months if you are prepared with all of the necessary documents when you go to see a bankruptcy attorney.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy varies from state to state. The filing fee is currently $335, although you may be able to get this waived if you can’t afford it. You’ll also need to pay for two mandatory credit counseling courses, which cost around $50 each. In addition, you may need to pay for a financial management course if the court requires it. These are just rough estimates — you will need to contact a bankruptcy lawyer for more specifics on your case, and, of course, these numbers do not include your attorney fees.

What Will Happen to My Property and Debts?

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your non-exempt property may be sold by the trustee to pay creditors. However, most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy keep all of their property because it is exempt. You will likely be able to keep your car and your home. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most debts are discharged. This means that you will no longer be liable for the debt and the creditor cannot take any action against you to collect the debt. The following debts are typically not discharged: child support, alimony, student loans, taxes, and criminal fines. If you have questions about whether a particular debt would be discharged in a bankruptcy, contact an attorney for specifics about your unique case.

How Will I Manage Financially after Filing for Bankruptcy?

After you file for bankruptcy, you will still be responsible for paying certain debts. You will also need to develop a budget and stick to it in order to avoid accumulating more debt. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate with your creditors to lower your payments or interest rates. The longer you wait to file for bankruptcy protection, the worse the terms will likely be. Filing for bankruptcy does not necessarily mean that you lose all of your assets; it can help get rid of unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, personal loans and utility bills so that you can rebuild your finances. This means that your finances may not be impacted in the way you assume. To better understand the process, contact a bankruptcy attorney at Darrell Castle & Associates for help today!