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Bankruptcy Information from the U.S. Trustee Program

Obtaining appropriate bankruptcy information is crucial in order to determine if bankruptcy is the only alternative. Fortunately, there is an abundance of bankruptcy information available online. The trick is making certain the information obtained is valid and factual.

To obtain current bankruptcy information, the best resource is the U.S. Trustee Program, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. Trustee Program website provides comprehensive information about the federal bankruptcy system. Here you'll find up-to-date information on Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, credit counseling and debtor education programs, the "means" test, and a nationwide office locator.

There new bankruptcy laws of BAPCPA have made it more difficult for consumers to file personal bankruptcy. In the past, many consumers elected to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy to completely eradicate debt and obtain a fresh start. Today, BAPCPA requires consumers to undergo the "means" test to determine if they are financially able to pay a portion of their outstanding debts.

In most cases, BAPCPA requires debtors to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This bankruptcy chapter requires reorganization of debt and the development of a repayment plan. Although debtors are able to retain their assets, Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plans can be excruciatingly difficult for people to maintain.

If Chapter 13 payments are not made in a timely fashion, creditors can petition the court and request the bankruptcy be dismissed. This can be particularly harmful to individuals who have filed bankruptcy to save their home from foreclosure. When payments are missed, the debtor fails out of bankruptcy and the mortgage lender can initiate foreclosure proceedings. In some cases, foreclosure status returns to where it was when the individual filed for bankruptcy protection.

Unfortunately, much of the bankruptcy information available online does not fully disclose the ramifications of failing out of bankruptcy. Debtors who file bankruptcy to stop foreclosure and later fail out of bankruptcy are devastated to discover they can be forced out of their homes in a matter of days.

Filing bankruptcy is a complicated matter. Although debtors can file for bankruptcy protection on their own, it is advised to obtain the services of a bankruptcy attorney. The new bankruptcy laws demand filing specific documents and complying with deadlines. One inappropriate form or missed deadline can cause a bankruptcy petition to be dismissed. Hiring qualified bankruptcy attorneys will provide consumers with the best chance of having their bankruptcy petition approved through the court.

It is important to note that there is no guarantee any bankruptcy filing will be granted through the court. While every U.S. citizen has the right to file bankruptcy, not all petitions are approved. Prior to making a final decision to file for bankruptcy protection, debtors should investigate bankruptcy alternatives such as debt consolidation, debt settlement, credit counseling and budgeting.

Discover additional bankruptcy information including alternatives to bankruptcy, the various bankruptcy chapters, and the intricacies of BAPCPA in our personal money management and investing article database.