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Bankruptcy Lawyers in Erie, PA - Elderkin Law Firm

Nobody likes to think of filing bankruptcy.  But the reality is that sometimes the circumstances of life create financial strains that make it impossible to pay off bills and debts.  The bankruptcy laws have been enacted to provide a fresh start, and let you get back on track with your finances.  Elderkin Law Firm bankruptcy lawyers will put their experience to work for you by evaluating your financial situation and helping you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you.  If so, they will guide you through the process of selecting an appropriate type of bankruptcy proceeding, and bring that matter to a conclusion as soon as possible, so that you can get on with your life. 

The Elderkin Law Firm has provided legal representation and counseling to a broad range of clients in bankruptcy matters in Erie, PA, including:

  • Debtors in Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy cases
  • Debtors in Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy cases 
  • Secured lenders in Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy matters
  • General unsecured creditors in all manner of bankruptcy proceedings

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy for you or your business, or if someone who owes you money has filed for bankruptcy, start today by taking a Free Evaluation -OR- Call the Elderkin Law Firm at (814) 456-4000 for a consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a personal liquidation bankruptcy. When you file your bankruptcy proceeding, you will not have any further responsibilities to your creditors because the assets that are non-exempt are going to be liquidated by a court appointed trustee. After this happens, the leftover money will be divided amongst your creditors in accordance with the priority of those creditors. To explain, if you sell a car that has a loan against it, then the loan holder will receive the money before anyone else. If you have taxes that are due, they will be paid before credit cards are paid. There is some priority when it comes to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy repayment.
What is a Chapter 11 bankruptcy?
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding is a re-organization plan, similar to a Chapter 13, primarily for businesses. At Elderkin Law Firm, we have extensive experience in helping small businesses owners in Northwestern Pennsylvania through Chapter 11 proceedings. A Chapter 11 plan gives them the time to reorganize and pay off their creditors by way of restructure so that they can keep their businesses as well as their jobs.
How does bankruptcy work?
At Elderkin Law Firm, you will speak directly with a Bankruptcy attorney to assess your situation. Your Bankruptcy Attorney will then tell you about the specific types of Bankruptcy proceedings, your responsibilities, and what you will end up with when we are done. Your responsibilities will be dependent on whether you file a Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
What are exempt assets?
There are a couple of assets that the Federal Bankruptcy Code allows you to keep when you file for bankruptcy. The old statutory rules permit you to keep a Bible, a sewing machine, and up to $300 of local state-wide exemptions. They have since incorporated Federal Exemptions, allowing you to keep a certain amount in the equity of your house without having to pay anyone in what is called a “catch-all”. A catch-all is a definite amount that covers any other assets you own, and it is up to you to determine what those assets should be.
Can I get a credit card after filing for bankruptcy?
You can get a credit card after filing for bankruptcy. Sometimes it is easier because certain companies will not give you a credit card after completing a credit check and discovering that you have multiple cards with a remaining high balance. If you’ve eliminated the majority of your credit card debt and are building your credit score back up again, you may find companies that are willing to give you a card. It is important to stay away from credit card companies that offer general bank credit cards and have measurably higher immediate interest rates because you don’t have a 30-day grace to pay. That big interest rate takes effect immediately and begins to accumulate once you start using it, which is what traps people into debt. It is important to remember that after you file for bankruptcy, you cannot file again for another seven years, and you can’t go to another state to change that because it is a federal law.
If I am in debt with student loans, will they be cleared as well after filing for bankruptcy?
If you are in debt with student loans, very rarely will they be cleared after filing for bankruptcy. Most of the outstanding student loans are federal loans or federally funded loans, like the Stafford Loans or the Guaranteed Loans. Those loans are not allowed to be discharged per the federal bankruptcy code as they were either from or guaranteed by the federal government. However, there are some exceptions. Most individuals with student loans who file a Chapter 11 proceeding usually convert to a Chapter 13 when they find out that their student loan cannot always be discharged. The Chapter 13 proceeding gives them some control over structured and disciplined repayment terms. You can still go through a Chapter 7 proceeding, but student loans are generally not discharged even if you file as a Chapter 7 proceeding. Student loans can be dismissed by filing a special motion with the bankruptcy judge and arguing that you are an extraordinary hardship case and that you should have your student loans eliminated.
What if I don't have many assets?
Many individuals, who have fallen behind and don’t have many assets, usually end up filing a No-Asset Chapter 7 case. A No-Asset case does not mean the person has no assets, but that the assets they do have are all exempt. Therefore, there are no assets that the trustee can have to sell and pay the creditors.
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