Chapter 13 deals with reorganization of your debts. It is the best tool to handle to stop an imminent and looming foreclosure because of the automatic stay inherent in such proceedings. I suspect that there are going to be more Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings soon because the foreclosure is going on unabated in Las Vegas, and in Nevada. This small post is an attempt to explain the various implications of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. First of all, please stay away from petition preparer, they are not the right agency to do this monumental task of safeguarding your home.
I get many calls every day in my office from various parts of Las Vegas, including Henderson, Pahrump, North Las Vegas, Mountain Edge, Eastern part of Las Vegas, where people are complaining about foreclosure and the default notices they had received recently. Most of these homeowners have little or no equity in their homes. Many of them has lost jobs, and had tried their best to find a job, and their unemployment allowance are running out. Values of their real estate had dropped more than 50% and still depreciating everyday. Most of them were attracted to teaser rate and ARMS. I don’t blame them. It was the norm at that time, and no one even the very knowledgeable people didn’t know the total implications of all these mortgage problems.
Well, in this harsh and very depressed economic times, Chapter 13 may be a good option for those with regular income. If their budget can carry the regular monthly payment plus something extra each month to pay back mortgage arrears and other debts in a consolidated payment to a trustee, they may be able to save their property. Under Chapter 13, an automatic stay (injunction) freezes all collection litigation, including foreclosures. The plan period can last 3 to 5 years. In some cases the unsecured creditors (like credit cards) don’t have to be repaid in full – so the cost of doing the bankruptcy may be more than covered by the money saved (discharged).
Chapter 13 is a difficult process. Calling a lawyer and choosing the right one for your case is the first step. Not all lawyer’s fees are the same, but then again not all will provide the same level of personal attention. In my office, we meet all the clients personally and answers all their phone calls and emails. I personally do not get involved a paralegal until I do most of the work myself. It is risky thing, and I would not let a paralegal do it. Of course, they do most of the procedural work but the main job is handled by attorneys in our office. We try to save your home if no modification is done, or the lender is reluctant in doing modification of your loan.
Don’t let your bankruptcy be handled by someone doing a production job, or if cheaper rates are your prime concern. Cheap rates means no quick and solid service. Please stay away from bankruptcy factory type production firms. Would your lawyer be with you when you need him? Would he be picking up the phone and answering your questions. Would he be accompanying you when you need him during the 341 meeting? These are the important questions, you need to know.
Would he let you case be handled by inexperienced clerical type people?
It is good to check out the lawyer you want to hire. Find out about their website, and visit their website. Read his or her profile. If there isn’t one available beware. You should know about your lawyer’s prior experience and education. This information should be readily available on his website.
You should also find out if your lawyer offers unlimited availability to you via email or phone as I do for my clients. I answer their questions very quickly and suggest them to approach me via email because this is the best medium of contact where I can even answer their questions while sitting in my home and on my off time.