Being in serious debt while living in Port Huron, Michigan can be incredibly agonizing. If you’ve already exhausted all your resources and there’s still no end in sight, it might be time to consult a bankruptcy attorney. A competent lawyer that specializes in debt elimination and reorganization can advise you on your best options so that you can move forward with a life unconsumed by financial distress.
What to Prepare for Your Port Huron Bankruptcy Lawyer
Your bankruptcy attorney in Port Huron will need a complete picture of your finances. That will enable them to advise you on the best way to tackle your situation and also make sure that your bankruptcy case goes smoothly. Before you meet for the first time, prepare the following documents:
- Photo ID – Any valid identification issued by the US government.
- Social Security Card – Your Social Security card, which bears exactly the same information as your valid ID. Alternatively, you can present your Form W-2.
- Tax Returns – Documents reflecting the federal taxes you’ve paid for the last two years.
- Income Documents – Proof of what you currently make as well as any income you may have received within the past 6 months. This could be in the form of payslips if you’re employed, income statements if you’re self-employed, or unemployment claims.
- Bank Statements – A history of movement in any checking or savings account, as well as your credit cards. Ideally, you’d have a record covering the last 6 months.
- Property Assessments – If your home in Port Huron is titled or mortgaged in your name, prepare documents that prove your ownership along with a recent property appraisal. Present the same for vehicles or any other properties with considerable value.
- Pension Plans & Other Investments – Recent statements of your 401(k), 403(b), or any retirement plans you might have. Include any other investments, including life insurance policies, stock certificates, etc.
These are just the basic documents needed to file for bankruptcy in Michigan. Depending on your case, you might be asked to prepare additional documents.
The Options for Bankruptcy in Michigan
Michigan bankruptcy laws are the same as any other state. Where it differs is in exemptions for liquidation as well as its income thresholds. Nevertheless, those are things that your Port Huron bankruptcy attorney will be intimately familiar with and will inform you about, so you need not worry. Your lawyer will also inform you of what type of bankruptcy you qualify for. Generally, the two options are:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Fresh Start
This type of bankruptcy is commonly known as “debt elimination” or “the fresh start program” because it allows people with overwhelming debt to wipe out their arrears completely and start anew. Although it seems like the perfect solution for anyone experiencing extreme distress due to unmanageable financial obligations, not everyone can qualify.
If your Port Huron bankruptcy attorney determines that you are qualified, the next step is to prepare for liquidation. If you have properties in your name, those could be subject to liquidation. The proceeds of which will be distributed to your creditors. It’s possible to apply for chapter 7, even if you don’t have any assets. It’s also possible to keep all or some of your assets based on the exemptions set by Michigan or federal law.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Renegotiation
This type of bankruptcy is also commonly referred to as the “wage earner’s plan.” That’s because it allows you to renegotiate your debt and propose a repayment plan that would be manageable based on your current wages. Through this program, you’ll be able to pay off your current debt in monthly installments lasting 36 to 60 months.
Although it doesn’t seem as ideal as completely eliminating your debt, this type is much easier to qualify for. Plus, its impact to your credit rating is less severe. The main advantage of filing for this type of bankruptcy in Michigan is that it helps you secure the properties you’ve struggled to keep. If you own your Port Huron home, filing for chapter 13 gives you a good chance of avoiding foreclosure.
The Michigan Bankruptcy Process
Although it requires experience and a profound understanding of federal and Michigan bankruptcy laws, the entire bankruptcy process is actually straightforward. After your Port Huron bankruptcy lawyer determines what type you qualify for, you’ll work together to complete the necessary documents for filing. Once complete, your documents will be submitted to a US Bankruptcy Court, most likely the one located in Detroit.
Once filed, the court will assign a trustee to your case, and your creditors will be notified. You will also be scheduled for what is commonly called a “Meeting of Creditors,” although your creditors are unlikely to attend. Instead, it is a face-to-face meeting with your trustee, who will ask you questions about your debt, current financial position, and your properties.
After the meeting, your Port Huron bankruptcy attorney will continue corresponding with your trustee outside of court. You might be asked to prepare other documents, and your lawyer might have to present additional evidence that will allow you to keep certain properties. At the end of this process, which might take a couple of months, your trustee will approve your repayment plan and your case will be closed.
Why Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney in Port Huron, Michigan
No law requires you to engage the services of a bankruptcy lawyer. But, few debtors who represent themselves are able to do so successfully since the process can be complicated. Without being intimately familiar with Federal law as well as Michigan exemptions, it would be incredibly difficult for the average person to navigate their way not just through the elaborate process of filing but also defending their properties from liquidation. Finding a bankruptcy attorney in Port Huron isn’t only more convenient for you but will also guarantee that your lawyer is experienced in representing debtors in Michigan.
Debt can easily consume your entire life. Thankfully, you can easily find a Port Huron bankruptcy attorney to bail you out of your financial troubles. Filing for bankruptcy in Michigan might seem like an overwhelming process. But if you have an experienced lawyer looking out for your best interest, you should come out of it with a more manageable repayment plan, if not a completely clean slate.