Elizabeth A. Haas, Esq., PLLC

New York Bankruptcy & Asset Protection

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254 S. Main Street
Suite 301
New City, NY 10956
TEL: 845-708-0340
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Bankruptcy laws were established by Congress to permit honest people to be relieved from personal liability on specific debts and be assured that no one will be able to take any action to collect those debts in the future.  Similarly, business entities such as corporations can restructure their debt to become economically viable or to close in an orderly fashion.

The Bankruptcy Code sets forth different forms of bankruptcy which are named for the various chapters under the Bankruptcy Code.  The statute is found in Title 11 of the United State Code.

 
CHAPTER 7
 
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what most people think of when they consider filing for a petition in bankruptcy.  A Chapter 7 can be used by individuals to discharge certain of their debts and to begin again with a “fresh start” but not a “head start.”  It can also be used by a business for an orderly termination of the business.  A person or entity which files a bankruptcy is referred to as a “Debtor”. The proceeding is a court supervised process by which a trustee liquidates a Debtor’s assets, makes distribution to creditors in accordance with an order of priority established by the Bankruptcy Code subject to the Debtor’s rights to retain certain property as allowed by statute and rights of the creditors who have a security interest against those assets.  Frequently there is no distribution to creditors in a Chapter 7 case either because of the de minimis value of the Debtor’s assets, because the assets are exempt, or the assets held as security by a creditor.

Creditors have a right to challenge the bankruptcy and block the debtor’s discharge or seek to have the debt owed to a particular creditor survive the bankruptcy.   There are also certain debts that will automatically survive a bankruptcy.  If there is no objection, a Debtor receives a discharge within a few months after the petition is filed.  

There are specific income thresholds which must be considered to determine whether an individual consumer Debtor qualifies for relief under Chapter 7.  If the Debtor’s income exceeds the medium income established for the area where the Debtor resides, a Debtor may not be eligible for a Chapter 7 proceeding and must then proceed under another chapter of the Bankruptcy Code.  

Our attorneys will evaluate your financial situation to determine whether a bankruptcy is appropriate to you and, if so, whether a Chapter 7 or another chapter of the Bankruptcy Code, is right for you.




CHAPTER 13

A Chapter 13 is a repayment plan and can be used by Debtors who have fallen behind in a mortgage and want to retain their real estate, if there are assets which would otherwise be exposed to liquidation in a Chapter 7 case, or if the debtor’s income exceeds the threshold of income which might preclude a Chapter 7 filing.  Our attorneys will evaluate your circumstances and advise whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is appropriate for you.  Our attorneys will also work with you to propose a plan for payment of some or all of the debt, which plan must be approved by the Bankruptcy Judge.  The Debtor must make all payments under the Chapter 13 plan before a discharge is granted.  

In order to be eligible to file a chapter 13 petition, debt cannot exceed maximum amounts established by statute.
 


CHAPTER 11

A Chapter 11 proceeding, often referred to as a reorganization, is ordinarily used by businesses who wish to remain in operation and repay creditors through a court approved plan of repayment of debt.  It is also available for individuals whose liability exceed the debt limits and are not otherwise eligible to file a Chapter 13 proceeding.  

Chapter 11 is a very powerful business tool and may permit the Debtor to terminate burdensome contracts and leases, recover assets and restructure its business while not having to defend numerous lawsuits which existed prior to the filing of the petition in bankruptcy.  Frequently, a restructured business is more financially viable.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy permits the business to continue in operation by reorganizing its debt which is different than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy which forces the cessation of business and liquidation of assets.



THE AUTOMATIC STAY

Immediately upon filing a petition in bankruptcy under any section of the Bankruptcy Code, attempts to collect a debt must stop under the “automatic stay” provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.  While there are certain exceptions, primarily relating to public policy issues, the automatic stay provisions stop a “race to courthouse” so that all creditors are treated equally in the Bankruptcy process.



LOSS MITIGATION

There are several federally funded and private programs which are available to homeowners to refinance or modify a mortgage on a principal residence.  Our attorneys can discuss these programs with you to determine if these programs are available to you.
 
The Law Firm of Elizabeth A. Haas, Esq., PLLC will guide you through the process ensuring that all deadlines are met and anticipating problems that may arise.
 
If you decide that bankruptcy does not offer the relief you seek, Elizabeth A. Haas, Esq. is experienced in debt consolidation, loss mitigation and settlement of debt in the New York State Courts.  
 
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