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William K. Thomas 

Attorney at Law

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Can I keep my home and vehicle?

Posted on January 10, 2020 at 2:55 PM

An individual filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can usually keep their home and vehicles. Secured debts such as a mortgage or vehicle loan may be reaffirmed, surrendered, or redeemed. A debt may be reaffirmed by the debtor choosing to keep the property, signing a reaffirmation agreement, and continue paying on the debt. On the other hand, the debtor may choose to surrender their home and/or vehicle and be released for the debt associated with that property.


A debtor is entitled to a $15,000.00 homestead exemption in the State of Illinois as well as a vehicle exemption in the amount of $2,400.00. An exemption is used to keep equity in real property and/or personal property from the reach of creditors. An exemption is used to cover the difference between the value of the property and the amount of the loan on the property. This means that the equity in a home and/or vehicle may be exempted up to the exemption amount, keeping the exempted equity safe from creditors.


Married debtors may choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy jointly and double their homestead exemption and vehicle exemption. The vehicle exemption can only be used for up to $2,400.00 for one vehicle per debtor.


For more information, please call us at 618-544-8425 to schedule a bankruptcy consultation with Bill Thomas so he can better answer your questions according to your personal circumstances. We will be happy to help you with your debt relief needs!

 

What is a Bankruptcy Discharge?

Posted on October 16, 2019 at 4:55 PM

The reason people file for bankruptcy is to be discharged from paying debts. Certain debts, however, cannot be discharged. A bankruptcy filer cannot be discharged from taxes, court fines and criminal restitution, personal injury judgments if caused by drunk driving or under the influence of drugs, child support or maintenance to a former spouse if ordered by a court, and most student loans.



No debt will be discharged that was incurred after the bankruptcy filing date. A debt not listed within the bankruptcy petition might not be discharged unless the petition is amended to include that debt.



A bankruptcy judge can deny a discharge if the judge finds dishonesty in connection with the case, such as fraudulently hiding or transferring property, falsifying income records, or disobeying a court order.



A secured debt can be discharged but the creditor has the right to take the collateral.



Hopefully, this information will help you determine whether or not filing for bankruptcy relief is in your best interests. If you have more questions, please call the office of William K. Thomas at 618-544-8425.

Bankruptcy FAQs

Posted on April 30, 2019 at 10:55 AM

Bankruptcy is a federal proceeding and is not filed in the county courthouse. When you decide that bankruptcy is best for your situation, you will choose, with the help of Mr. Thomas, which bankruptcy chapter best meets your needs.


Chapter 7 – Your unsecured debts are discharged by the bankruptcy court. A trustee is appointed to oversee your case. Any property with value that exceeds the statutory exemption will be sold to pay your creditors. In most cases, all of your property will be exempt, and you should talk to Mr. Thomas to determine if your property falls within the allowed exemption limit.


Chapter 13 – The trustee that is appointed to your case collects payments from you and pays your creditors according to a repayment plan approved by the bankruptcy court.


Chapter 12 – Very much like a Chapter 13 but is available only for farmers and fishermen.


Chapter 11 – Also very similar to Chapter 13 designed for businesses.

FAQs about bankruptcy

Posted on August 14, 2018 at 11:45 AM

Q: Will everyone know that I have filed for bankruptcy?

A: Unless you are a prominent person in the community, no. Bankruptcy filings do not appear in the newspaper.


Q: When I file Chapter 7, will all of my debts be wiped out?

A: Unsecured debts, such as credit cards and medical bills will be discharged. Student loans usually cannot be discharged. Secured debts, such as automobiles, real estate, usually jewelry and furniture, must either be reaffirmed, or you can surrender such property to the creditor and be discharged from any remaining debt.


Q: Will I lose everything I have?

A: Exemptions may protect many of your assets, such as your residence or your automobile. Call us with your specific question and we will ask the right questions to determine if the exemptions fit your situation.


Q: How often can I file for bankruptcy?

A: Once every eight years.


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