Bankruptcy Questions | Missouri Legal Services (2023)

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person who cannot pay his or her bills can get a fresh financial start. The right to file for bankruptcy is provided by federal law, and all bankruptcy cases are handled in federal court. Filing bankruptcy immediately stops all creditors from seeking to collect debts from a petitioner, at least until the debts are sorted out according to the law.

What Can Bankruptcy Do?

Bankruptcy makes it possible to—

1. Eliminate the legal obligation to pay most or all of debts. This is called a "discharge" of debts. It is designed to give you a fresh financial start.

2. Stop foreclosure on your house or mobile home and allow an opportunity to catch up on missed payments.

3.Caution: Bankruptcy does not normally eliminate mortgages and other liens on your property without payment.

4. Prevent repossession of your car or other property, or force the creditor to return property even after it has been repossessed.

5. Stop wage garnishment, debt collection harassment, and similar actions to collect a debt.

6. Restore or prevent termination of utility service.

7. Challenge the claim of a creditor who commits fraud or who tries to collect more than is really owed.

What Can’t Bankruptcy Do?

Bankruptcy cannot cure every financial problem. More importantly, bankruptcy is simply the wrong solution for many debtors. A bankruptcy generally—

1.Won't Eliminate rights of secured creditors in collateral. A secured creditor is someone who has a mortgage or other lien on your property that is collateral for your loan. Common examples are car loans (secured by your car) and home mortgage loans (secured by your home). You cannot generally remove a creditor's collateral interest in a bankruptcy proceeding. Rather, you must either give up the collateral or make payment. Payments, however, might in a bankruptcy proceeding be stretched out over time and/or limited to the value of the collateral.

2.Won't Discharge types of debts singled out by the bankruptcy law for special treatment, such as child support, alimony and certain other debts related to divorce, most student loans, court restitution orders, criminal fines, and some taxes.

3.Won't Protect cosigners on your debts. When a relative or friend has co-signed a loan, and you discharge your debt in bankruptcy, the cosigner may still have to repay all or part of the loan.

4.Won't Discharge debts that arise after bankruptcy has been filed.

What Are the Types of Banruptcy Cases?

There are four types of bankruptcy cases provided under the law:

1.Chapter 7 is known as "straight" bankruptcy or "liquidation." It requires you to give up property that exceeds certain limits called "exemptions," so the property can be sold (liquidated) to pay creditors.

2.Chapter 11 is known as "reorganization." Businesses and a few individual debtors whose debts are very large use it.

3.Chapter 12 is reserved for family farmers and fishermen.

(Video) Chapter 7 legal help questions for your bankruptcy attorney

4.Chapter 13 is called "debt adjustment." It requires you to file a plan to pay debts (or parts of debts) from current income over the period of the plan.

Most people considering bankruptcy will be looking at either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly.

Current law provides a "safe-harbor" for Chapter 7 filings if your income is below themedian family incomefor the same size household in your state. But if your income is above that level, you more or less must go into a Chapter 13 case.

If you are a higher-income debtor you must fill out "means test" forms requiring detailed information about your income and expenses. If, under standards in the law, you are found to have sufficient income after expenses to allow payment to unsecured creditors, the bankruptcy court may not allow you to proceed with a Chapter 7 case unless you can present sufficient special circumstances.

Chapter 7 (Straight Bankruptcy)

In a bankruptcy case under Chapter 7, you file a petition asking the court to discharge your debts. The basic idea in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to wipe out (discharge) your debts in exchange for giving up property, except for the "exempt" property that the law allows you to keep. In many cases, all of your property will be exempt. But your property that is not exempt is sold to allow distribution of the resulting money to creditors.

If you want to keep property like a home or a car and are behind on the payments on a mortgage or car loan, a chapter 7 case probably will not be the right choice. That is because chapter 7 bankruptcy does not eliminate the rights of mortgage holders or car loan creditors to take your property to cover your debt.

Chapter 13 (Reorganization)

In a chapter 13 case you file a "plan" showing how you will pay off some of your past-due and current debts over three to five years. The most important thing about a chapter 13 case is that it will allow you to keep valuable property—especially a home and car—which might otherwise be lost, if you can make the payments which the bankruptcy law requires to be made to creditors. In most cases, these payments will be at least as much as your regular monthly payments on a mortgage or car loan, with some extra payment to get caught up on the amount you have fallen behind.

You should consider filing a chapter 13 plan if you:

1. Own a home and are in danger of losing it because of money problems;

2. Are behind on debt payments, but can catch up if given some time; or

3. Have valuable property that is not exempt, but can afford to pay creditors from regular income over time.

You will need to have enough income in chapter 13 to pay for necessities and to keep up with the required payments as they come due.

What Does It Cost to File Bankruptcy?

It costs $306 to file for bankruptcy under chapter 7, and $281 to file for bankruptcy under chapter 13, whether for one person or a married couple.

The court may allow you to pay this filing fee in installments if it cannot be paid all at once.

If you are unable to pay the filing fee in installments, you may request that the court waive the filing fee. If you hire an attorney, you will also have to pay the agreed attorney's fees—unless it is a Legal Aid attorney, who is free.

What Must You Do Before Filing Bankruptcy?

You must receive budget and credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency within 180 days before a bankruptcy case is filed. The agency will review possible options available in credit counseling and assist in reviewing the debtor's budget. Different agencies provide the counseling in-person, by telephone, or over the Internet. If you decide to file bankruptcy, you will need to file with the forms in the bankruptcy case a certificate from the agency stating that you received the counseling.

If you decide to go ahead with bankruptcy, you should be very careful in choosing an agency for the required counseling. It is extremely difficult to sort out the good counseling agencies from the bad ones. Many agencies are legitimate, but many are simply rip-offs. And being an "approved" agency for bankruptcy counseling is no guarantee that the agency is good. It is also important to understand that even good agencies won't be able to help much if you are already too deep in financial trouble.

Some of the approved agencies offer debt management plans (also called DMPs). This is a plan to repay some or all debts in which you send the counseling agency a monthly payment that it then distributes to creditors. DMPs can be helpful for some consumers. For others, they are a terrible idea. The problem is that many counseling agencies will pressure you into a DMP as a way of avoiding bankruptcy whether it makes sense or not. It is important to keep in mind these important points:

(Video) Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition - Legal Services of the Hudson Valley

1. Bankruptcy is not necessarily to be avoided at all costs. In many cases, bankruptcy may actually be the best choice for you.

2. If you sign up for a debt management plan that you can't afford, you may end up in bankruptcy anyway (and a copy of the plan must also be filed in the bankruptcy case).

3. There are approved agencies for bankruptcy counseling that do not offer debt management plans.

It is usually a good idea for you to meet with an attorney before you receive the required credit counseling. Unlike a credit counselor, who cannot give legal advice, an attorney can provide counseling on whether bankruptcy is the best option. If bankruptcy is not the right answer for you, a good attorney will offer a range of other suggestions. The attorney can also provide a list of approved credit counseling agencies, and you can also check the website for the United States Trustee Program office.

What Property Can You Keep?

In a chapter 7 case, you can keep all property the law says is protected ("exempt") from the claims of creditors. In Missouri, the exemptions include:

1. $15,000 in equity in a home;

2. $3,000 in equity in a car;

3. $3,000 in household goods, appliances, clothing, etc.;

4. $3,000 in things needed for a job (tools, books, etc.);

5. $600 in any property the debtor chooses;

6. $1,500 in a wedding ring, plus $500 in other jewelry;

7. $750 per month in child support or alimony;

8. $1,250 for the head of the family, plus an additional $350 for each unmarried, dependent child under 18 years old;

9. Professionally prescribed health aids (such as eyeglasses, wheelchairs, etc.); and

10. The right to receive certain benefits such as social security, unemployment compensation, veteran's benefits, public assistance, and pensions—regardless of the amount.

(The amounts of the exemptions listed are sometimes doubled when a married couple files together.)

In deciding whether property is protected by law, you must keep a few things in mind. The value of property is not the amount paid for it, but what it is worth now. Especially for furniture and cars, this may be a lot less than what was paid or what it would cost to buy a replacement.

You also only need to look at equity in property. This means that exemptions count against the full value minus any money owed on mortgages or liens. For example, if you have a $50,000 house with a $40,000 mortgage, exemptions are counted against the $10,000 in equity.

While exemptions will allow you to keep property even in a chapter 7 case, exemptions do not make any difference to the right of a mortgage holder or car loan creditor to take the property to cover the debt if you are behind. In a chapter 13 case, you can keep all of your property if the plan meets the requirements of the bankruptcy law. In most cases you will have to pay the mortgages or liens as you would if you didn't file bankruptcy.

What Will Happen to Your Home and Car in Bankruptcy?

In most cases you will not lose your home or car during a bankruptcy case as long as the equity in your property is fully exempt. Even if the property is not fully exempt, you will be able to keep it, if you pay its non-exempt value to creditors in chapter 13.

(Video) Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Mistakes Made Before Filing (Part One)

However, some of creditors may have a "security interest" in your home, automobile or other personal property. This means that you gave that creditor a mortgage on the home or put other property up as collateral for the debt. Bankruptcy does not make these security interests go away. If you don't make payments on that debt, the creditor may be able to take and sell your home or the property, during or after the bankruptcy case.

There are several ways that you can keep collateral or mortgaged property after filing for bankruptcy. You can agree to keep making payments on the debt until it is paid in full. Or you can pay the creditor the amount that the property is worth. In some cases involving fraud or other improper conduct by the creditor, you may be able to challenge the debt. If household goods are collateral for a loan (other than a loan to purchase the goods), you can usually keep that property without making any more payments on that debt.

Can I Own Anything After Bankruptcy?

Yes! Many people believe they cannot own anything for a period of time after filing for bankruptcy. This is not true. You can keep exempt property and anything obtained after the bankruptcy is filed. However, if an inheritance, a property settlement, or life insurance benefits is received within 180 days after filing for bankruptcy, that money or property may have to be paid to creditors if the property or money is not exempt.

Will Banrutcy Wipe Out All Debts?

Yes, with some exceptions. But Bankruptcy will not normally wipe out—

1. Money owed for child support or alimony, fines, and some taxes;

2. Debts not listed on the bankruptcy petition;

3. Loans obtained by knowingly giving false information to a creditor, who reasonably relied on it in making the loan;

4. Debts resulting from "willful and malicious" harm;

5. Most student loans, except if the court decides that payment would be an undue hardship;

6. Mortgages and other liens that are not paid in the bankruptcy case (but bankruptcy will wipe out the obligation to pay any additional money if the property is sold by the creditor).

Will I Have to Go to Court?

In most bankruptcy cases, you only have to go to a proceeding called the "meeting of creditors" to meet with the bankruptcy trustee and any creditor who chooses to come. Most of the time, this meeting will be a short and simple procedure where you are asked a few questions about your bankruptcy forms and financial situation.

Occasionally, if complications arise, or if you choose to dispute a debt, you may have to appear before a judge at a hearing. If you need to go to court, you will receive notice of the court date and time from the court and/or from the debtor's attorney.

What Else Must I Do to Complete a Bankruptcy Case?

After a bankruptcy case is filed, you must complete an approved course in personal finances. This course will take approximately two hours to complete. Your attorney can provide a list of organizations that offer approved courses. In a chapter 7 case, you should sign up for the course soon after the case is filed. In a chapter 13 case, you should ask your attorney when to take the course.

Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

There is no clear answer to this question. Unfortunately, if a debtor is behind on bills, his or her credit may already be bad. Bankruptcy will probably not make things any worse.

The fact that a debtor has filed a bankruptcy can appear on a credit record for ten years. But because bankruptcy wipes out old debts, a debtor is likely to be in a better position to pay current bills and may be able to establish new credit.

What Else Should I Know?

(Video) Bankruptcy Law Interview Questions and Answers 2019 Part-1 | Bankruptcy Law | Wisdom IT Services

Utility services. Public utilities, such as the electric company, cannot refuse or cut off service because you have filed for bankruptcy. However, the utility can require a deposit for future service and you do have to pay bills that arise after bankruptcy is filed.

Discrimination. An employer or government agency cannot discriminate against you because you have filed for bankruptcy.

Driver's license. If you lost a license solely because you couldn't pay court-ordered damages caused in an accident, bankruptcy will allow you to get your license back.

Co-signers. If someone has co-signed a loan with you and you file for bankruptcy, the co-signer may have to pay the debt. If you file a chapter 13, you may be able to protect co-signers, depending upon the terms of the chapter 13 plan.

How Do I Find a Bankruptcy Attorney?

As with any area of the law, it is important to carefully select an attorney who will respond to your personal situation. The attorney should not be too busy to meet you individually and to answer questions as necessary.

The best way to find a trustworthy bankruptcy attorney is to seek recommendations from family, friends or other members of the community, especially an attorney you know and respect. You should carefully read retainers and other documents the attorney asks you to sign. You should not hire an attorney unless he or she agrees to represent you throughout the case.

In bankruptcy, as in all areas of life, remember that the person advertising the cheapest rate is not necessarily the best. Many of the best bankruptcy lawyers do not advertise at all.

Document preparation services also known as "typing services" or "paralegal services" involve non-lawyers who offer to prepare bankruptcy forms for a fee. Problems with these services often arise because non-lawyers cannot offer advice on difficult bankruptcy cases and they offer no services once a bankruptcy case has begun. There are also many shady operators in this field, who give bad advice and defraud consumers.

When first meeting a bankruptcy attorney, you should be prepared to answer the following questions:

1. What debts do you owe?

2. What debts are causing you the most trouble?

3. What are your assets?

4. How did the debts arise and are they secured by your property?

5. Is any action about to occur to foreclose or repossess your property or to shut off utility service?

6. What are your goals in filing bankruptcy?

Can I File Bankruptcy Witout an Attorney?

Although it may be possible for some people to file a bankruptcy case without an attorney, it is not a step to be taken lightly. The process is difficult and you may lose property or other rights if you do not know the law. It takes patience and careful preparation. Chapter 7 (straight bankruptcy) cases are easier. Very few people have been able to successfully file chapter 13 (debt adjustment) cases on their own.

Notice - Prepared by Missouri legal aid lawyers, pursuant to a grant from the Jewish Heritage Foundation through Mid-America Regional Council. Some material used with permission of the National Consumer Law Center. April, 2006.

Sometimes the laws change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. If the date above is not this year, call us to see if there is an update.We provide this information as a public service. It is not legal advice. By sending you this information, we are not acting as your lawyer. Always consult a lawyer, if you can, before taking legal action.Sorry, but we cannot respond to website requests for help. If you believe you have a legal problem we can help you with, call your local legal aid program.

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FAQs

What questions does a bankruptcy trustee ask? ›

Common Bankruptcy Trustee Questions
  • Did you review your bankruptcy petition and schedules before you filed them with the court?
  • Is all of the information contained in your bankruptcy papers true and correct to the best of your knowledge?
  • Did you disclose all of your assets?

Can I keep my house if I file bankruptcy in Missouri? ›

In most cases you will not lose your home or car during a bankruptcy case as long as the equity in your property is fully exempt. Even if the property is not fully exempt, you will be able to keep it, if you pay its non-exempt value to creditors in chapter 13.

What are Missouri bankruptcy Exemptions? ›

Those who file for bankruptcy in Missouri may exempt certain accounts including IRA's, 401(k)s, pension, and retirement based money purchase plans or profit sharing accounts. It is necessary to note that certain requirements must be met to exempt certain portions of cash value in life insurance policies and annuities.

What assets are exempt from creditors in Missouri? ›

Missouri law determines which assets and property you may keep and considers those exempt. What property is exempt from creditors in Missouri?
...
Benefits, Retirement & Support
  • Domestic support. Are you receiving alimony or child support? ...
  • Insurance benefits. ...
  • Health savings accounts. ...
  • Retirement accounts. ...
  • Public benefits.
7 Dec 2020

What kind of questions are asked at a 341 meeting? ›

What Questions Will a Bankruptcy Creditor Ask at the 341 Meeting of Creditors? Your creditors will ask you questions about your present and past financial situation, business dealings, and property that you own.

What can go wrong at a 341 meeting? ›

Things That Happen at Every 341 Meeting

That's why they check your picture ID and proof of your Social Security number at the meeting. What can go wrong? If you forget to bring the necessary forms of identification, the trustee can't hold the meeting and you'll have to come back for another one.

What do you lose when you file bankruptcy? ›

You could lose assets of value

Depending on which type of bankruptcy you qualify for, your income, the equity in your assets and other factors, you may lose your home, your car and other valuable items. Your trustee may be required to sell these items to repay your creditors.

What do you lose when you file Chapter 7? ›

Chapter 7 bankruptcy erases or "discharges" credit card balances, medical bills, past-due rent payments, payday loans, overdue cellphone and utility bills, car loan balances, and even home mortgages in as little as four months.

Can I keep my car if I file Chapter 7 in Missouri? ›

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will get to keep your car because the exemption would protect the equity fully. In the same example, if your vehicle were worth $15,000, the bankruptcy trustee would sell your vehicle, pay you $5,000 for the exemption, and distribute the rest to your unsecured creditors.

What bankruptcy Cannot forgive? ›

Non-dischargeable Debts

Some examples of debts that are typically not forgiven by Chapter 7 bankruptcy include the following: Student loans. Child support or alimony payments. Some taxes you owe.

What expenses Cannot be discharged in bankruptcy? ›

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates credit card debt, medical bills and unsecured loans; however, there are some debts that cannot be discharged. Those debts include child support, spousal support obligations, student loans, judgments for damages resulting from drunk driving accidents, and most unpaid taxes.

What assets are not exempt from bankruptcy? ›

The Quebec government website also lists unseizable property.
  • All food and fuel.
  • All clothing.
  • Household furniture and appliances up to $7,000.
  • One vehicle required for work.
  • All farming exempt.
  • Registered savings plans (RRSP, RRIF) except contributions made in the last 12 months.
  • Certain pensions.
30 Sept 2021

How long before a debt becomes uncollectible in Missouri? ›

The statute of limitations of unsecured debt with a written contract is ten years, while that of a verbal contract is five years. Secured debt. This is a type of debt with collateral, e.g., mortgage and car loans. If the debtor fails to make payment in time, the creditor can possess the collateral.

What type of accounts Cannot be garnished? ›

In many states, some IRS-designated trust accounts may be exempt from creditor garnishment. This includes individual retirement accounts (IRAs), pension accounts and annuity accounts. Assets (including bank accounts) held in what's known as an irrevocable living trust cannot be accessed by creditors.

How long can a creditor come after you in Missouri? ›

Depending on the type of debt, Missouri statute of limitations on debt range between five to 10 years. After that period has passed, the debt becomes time-barred, which means collectors no longer have the right to sue you.

Should I be nervous about 341 meeting? ›

Judging by the questions people ask about 341 meetings, people seem to think they're going to be very scary and intimidating. As long as you're going in with a trusted bankruptcy lawyer on your side, there is no reason to be nervous.

What do you say in a 341 meeting? ›

You Must Tell The Truth At The 341 Meeting Of Creditors.

The Trustee and any creditor or other party in interest is entitled to ask questions regarding your assets and liabilities, as well as any questions that are relevant to the administration of the bankruptcy case, or your right to a discharge.

Do creditors usually show up at 341 meeting? ›

The meeting of creditors (also called the 341 hearing) is a mandatory hearing almost all bankruptcy debtors must attend. At the 341 hearing, creditors have the right to ask questions about your bankruptcy papers and financial affairs under oath. But in most cases, creditors rarely attend 341 hearings.

What does the trustee look for in Chapter 7? ›

In Chapter 7, the trustee looks for property to sell or additional income to justify converting the case to Chapter 13. In Chapter 13, the trustee checks whether you could—or should—be paying more to creditors than what you've proposed.

Do trustees ask for bank statements? ›

The trustee will also use bank statements to look for evidence of your income and expenses and question you about any significant transactions.

How long does it take to get a discharge after 341 meeting? ›

The Court enters an order discharging individual Debtors after all requirements are met, but no sooner than the last day to object to the Debtor's Discharge. This is usually 60 days after the 1st setting of the 341 Meeting of Creditors unless a motion is filed with the court to extend that time.

How much does bankruptcy drop your score? ›

According to FICO's damage points, the higher your starting score, the more points you'll lose for filing for bankruptcy. For a person with a credit score of 680, filing for bankruptcy will lower your score by 130-150 points. For a person with a score of 780, filing for bankruptcy will cost you 220-240 points.

How much does your score drop after bankruptcy? ›

Assessing the Damage

If you know your score and file for bankruptcy, get ready to watch it plunge. A person with an average 680 score would lose between 130 and 150 points in bankruptcy. Someone with an above-average 780 score would lose between 200 and 240 points.

Does bankruptcy give you a fresh start? ›

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets (other than your exempt assets) are gathered together and sold. Any unsecured debt that isn't paid off from the sale proceeds is discharged, giving the debtor a debt-free fresh start. Traditionally, Chapter 7 has been the most common type of bankruptcy proceeding.

What is the downside of Chapter 7? ›

Disadvantages to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

The Trustee will sell any non-exempt property you own. If you want to keep a secured asset, such as a car or home, and it is not completely covered by your bankruptcy exemptions then Chapter 7 is not an option.

Can I spend money after filing Chapter 7? ›

The money you make after the filing date should first be used to make your monthly plan payment to the Trustee. After that, your money is yours to do with as you please, up to a point: if you need to make a large purchase such as a car or a house, you might need the court's permission. Consult with your attorney.

Will I lose my tax refund if I file Chapter 7? ›

Federal Tax Refunds During Bankruptcy

You can receive tax refunds while in bankruptcy. However, refunds may be subject to delay, to turnover requests by the Chapter 7 Trustee, or used to pay down your tax debts.

What is not dischargeable in Chapter 7? ›

Debts dischargeable in a chapter 13, but not in chapter 7, include debts for willful and malicious injury to property, debts incurred to pay non-dischargeable tax obligations, and debts arising from property settlements in divorce or separation proceedings.

How soon can I buy a car after Chapter 7? ›

Getting a Car after Chapter 7

If yours was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that usually takes 4 to 6 months to complete. You should receive notice of your discharge roughly 90 days after your 341 meeting of creditors. After you get this notice, you can get a loan for a car.

Should I pay off my car before filing Chapter 7? ›

Keep the car, keep the debt

If you don't pay the loan off, the car lender can repossess the car and even start a wage garnishment to collect the loan balance. This is especially risky because you can only file Chapter 7 bankruptcy every 8 years, so there is no easy relief available if anything goes wrong.

What is the most severe bankruptcy? ›

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also known as “reorganization” or “rehabilitation” bankruptcy. It is the most complex form of bankruptcy and generally the most expensive.

What is the #1 reason for bankruptcies? ›

Medical Costs

So many people fall behind on their medical bills, it accounts for 62% of all bankruptcies. In fact, the majority of bankruptcy filings related to medical bills came from individuals with health insurance!

Can a bankruptcy claim be denied? ›

5 Reasons Your Bankruptcy Case Could Be Denied

The debtor failed to attend credit counseling. Their income, expenses, and debt would allow for a Chapter 13 filing. The debtor attempted to defraud creditors or the bankruptcy court. A previous debt was discharged within the past eight years under Chapter 7.

What are 5 types of debt that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy? ›

Nondischargeable debt is a type of debt that cannot be eliminated through a bankruptcy proceeding. Such debts include, but are not limited to, student loans; most federal, state, and local taxes; money borrowed on a credit card to pay those taxes; and child support and alimony.

What household goods can be retained in bankruptcy? ›

A Bankruptcy Inspector from the ISI will serve you with a copy of the Order of Adjudication (Bankruptcy Order) and Warrant of Seizure.
...
The assets may include:
  • Clothes.
  • Vehicles.
  • Furniture and tools or equipment relating to trade.
  • Necessities for your family and any dependent relatives living with you.
30 Mar 2022

Does bankruptcy get rid of car loans? ›

Many people are under the mistaken belief that filing bankruptcy allows you to wipe out an auto loan and keep the vehicle free and clear of any payments. It just isn't true. Bankruptcy will unwind your obligation to pay back the loan. But if you don't make the payment, you won't be driving the car for long.

Can you file for bankruptcy and keep your house? ›

Your mortgage lender will not foreclose on your home if you file bankruptcy as long as you keep up with your mortgage payments. Bankruptcy only discharges your unsecured debts, such as: Credit card balances.

Can I keep my car in a bankruptcy? ›

You can usually keep your vehicle if you file for bankruptcy. If it has a lien on it and your payments are current, you can continue to make your car payments and keep your car.

Can you go to jail for debt in Missouri? ›

While you can't be arrested or put in jail for past-due credit card payments, there are a few kinds of debt that could land you behind bars. For example, failure to pay federal taxes or filing fraudulent tax returns could result in going to jail.

Does disputing a debt restart the statute of limitations? ›

Contacting your creditors

Writing to them could make it look like you're agreeing you owe the money. This might reset the time limit - this means it will be another 6 years before the debt is statute barred.

How often do debt collectors take you to court? ›

How likely is it a debt collector will take you to court? (& how often) On average, debt collectors take debtors to court around 15% of the time. The worse news? When they do, you often have to pay litigation fees and may be stuck with a judgment and a collections record on your report.

What is the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors? ›

Summary: “Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately.” These are 11 words that can stop debt collectors in their tracks. If you're being sued by a debt collector, SoloSuit can help you respond and win in court.

How do I hide money from creditors? ›

Options for asset protection include:
  1. Domestic asset protection trusts.
  2. Limited liability companies, or LLCs.
  3. Insurance, such as an umbrella policy or a malpractice policy.
  4. Alternate dispute resolution.
  5. Prenuptial agreements.
  6. Retirement plans such as a 401(k) or IRA.
  7. Homestead exemptions.
  8. Offshore trusts.
9 Jul 2022

Can debt collectors see your bank account balance? ›

Can debt collectors see your bank account balance or garnish your wages? Collection agencies can access your bank account, but only after a court judgment.

How long before a debt becomes uncollectible? ›

In California, the statute of limitations for consumer debt is four years. This means a creditor can't prevail in court after four years have passed, making the debt essentially uncollectable.

Can debt collectors garnish wages in Missouri? ›

Under Missouri law, for any workweek, a creditor can garnish the lesser of: 25% of your disposable earnings, or 10% of your disposable earnings if you're the head of a family and a resident of the state, or. the amount by which your weekly disposable earnings exceed 30 times the federal hourly minimum wage. (Mo.

How long are judgments valid in Missouri? ›

A Missouri judgment is valid for ten (10) years from the latter of (1) the date of entry of the judgment or (2) the date that a plaintiff last successfully tried to execute on the judgment as reflected by a Court record.

What should I expect in a trustee meeting? ›

Your trustee can ask you about your assets, income, expenses, and anything else relevant to your bankruptcy paperwork. Their main job is to make sure everything on your paperwork is correct, including the exemptions you claimed. Creditors can also show up to ask questions at this meeting, but they rarely do.

Will a bankruptcy trustee look at my bank account? ›

Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee will likely check your bank accounts at least once during the process of overseeing your filing. They have a right to perform a full audit of your accounts or check them any time it is necessary. However, it is rare for them to keep close tabs on every account.

What would disqualify me from Chapter 7? ›

5 Reasons Your Bankruptcy Case Could Be Denied

The debtor failed to attend credit counseling. Their income, expenses, and debt would allow for a Chapter 13 filing. The debtor attempted to defraud creditors or the bankruptcy court. A previous debt was discharged within the past eight years under Chapter 7.

What is a 341 meeting like? ›

The Chapter 7 meeting of creditors (also called the 341 hearing) is a meeting at which the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors get to ask you questions under oath about your bankruptcy petition and the documents you're required to provide the trustee.

Can I put money in savings while in Chapter 13? ›

To the court and your creditors, if you have savings, non-retirement investments, or other nonexempt monetary resources, they should be used to pay off what you owe. If you want to invest while in bankruptcy, you'll need the court's permission to do so.

Can I deposit money after bankruptcy? ›

Once your case is filed with the Court, you can resume putting money in whatever bank accounts you choose, and your creditors that you had before bankruptcy cannot touch your bank accounts.

How does a bankruptcy trustee find hidden assets? ›

The trustee might find hidden assets by any of the following:
  1. a review of your debts (such as lots of furniture store debt but very little furniture)
  2. public record searches.
  3. online asset searches.
  4. payroll slips showing deposits into unlisted bank accounts or retirement accounts.
  5. bank records and tax returns, and.

What happens if Chapter 7 is denied? ›

Denial of your Chapter 7 discharge doesn't stop the bankruptcy case. The Chapter 7 trustee will continue to gather and liquidate any non-exempt assets, but the debtor does not receive the benefits of the Chapter 7 discharge.

Do all creditors show up at 341 meeting? ›

Creditors are not required to attend these meetings, and do not waive any rights if they do not attend.

What assets can be seized in Chapter 7? ›

Motor vehicles, up to a certain value. Reasonably necessary clothing. Reasonably necessary household goods and furnishings. Household appliances.

What is not covered in Chapter 7? ›

Debts Never Discharged in Bankruptcy

Alimony and child support. Certain unpaid taxes, such as tax liens. However, some federal, state, and local taxes may be eligible for discharge if they date back several years. Debts for willful and malicious injury to another person or property.

What happens if you win a lot of money while in Chapter 7? ›

Any winnings above your allowed exemption amounts go to the bankruptcy trustee to the extent necessary to pay your debts. However, if there is money left after all of your debts and the costs of the bankruptcy are paid, the excess will be returned to you.

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