Has your business been impacted by an economic downturn? Have you recently incurred a large, unexpected medical expense? Are you struggling to pay your personal bills in full as they become due and being bombarded with letters from creditors?
The attorneys at Umberger Wells, P.A. may be able to help stop the letters and get you back on your feet. Many debts (most often medical expenses) may be reduced simply by negotiating with creditors. Others may require legal proceedings in order to be eliminated or restructured. Some assets are even exempt from collection by State law. A person or business who owes money may be able to force creditors to accept a payment plan allowing a debt that’s due all-at-once to be not only reduced, but paid slowly over the course of 3-5 years.
One of the vehicles which the attorneys at Umberger Wells, P.A. use to create these outcomes is the United States Bankruptcy Code. Although to many “bankruptcy” is a pejorative term that connotes financial failure, in actuality it is merely a legal process by which a person or business can make use of to reduce and/or restructure their debts.
While many bankruptcies are essentially just liquidations of assets (Chapter 7), other forms of bankruptcy allow a person or business to keep all of all their assets so long as they follow an approved debt reorganization plan (Chapter 11 and Chapter 13). Upon completion of the plan, you and/or your business may walk away debt-free. While Chapter 11 bankruptcy has historically been too cost-prohibitive for smaller businesses to effectively utilize, Congress recently passed a new Subchapter amending the bankruptcy code to streamline requirements for businesses whose debt is below a certain threshold.
That being said, bankruptcy isn’t right for everyone. If you file bankruptcy, your credit will take a hit and for a period of 7-10 years following the bankruptcy you might have trouble getting a loan. Also, certain types of debts, including child support, certain tax obligations and (in most cases) student loans, are not discharged by bankruptcy.
The attorneys at Umberger Wells P.A. also have experience providing legal counsel to creditors who are owed money by individuals and businesses that have filed bankruptcy. Many creditors think a bankruptcy filing marks the end of their chances of getting paid anything. However, this is often not the case. For example, debts that are the fruit of fraudulent conduct may not be discharged in bankruptcy and a creditor may have an enforceable lien on a debtor’s asset which if properly defended can survive the bankruptcy process. It’s important to note that just because an entity has filed for bankruptcy doesn’t mean such entity be it a person or business has no assets for you to collect upon. However, if you don’t get adequate representation in bankruptcy court you might end up with a much smaller slice of the proverbial pie or no slice at all!
Every financial situation is a bit different and requires a personalized approach to be dealt with effectively. If you or your business are struggling with debt, or if you are a creditor that wants to be fairly paid in bankruptcy court, reach out to Umberger Wells, P.A. today to set up a one-on-one consultation to find out what approach is right for you.
If you would like assistance in relation to a bankruptcy matter, please contact our office to arrange a consultation with Michael Umberger at 704-375-1800.