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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy conjures up images of lengthy court proceedings and difficulties that follow you for years.  That couldn’t be more untrue.  In fact, filing for Chapter 7 in New York can be a fairly simple and painless process.  That’s not to say it’s something you should enter into lightly, though.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is called a “liquidation” bankruptcy.  People in New York file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy because they simply can’t pay their bills, and are looking for a legal and ethical way to end their debt problems. The purpose of filing a Chapter 7 case is to obtain a discharge of your existing debts – nothing more, and nothing less.

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you can wipe out debt from:

  • Credit cards
  • Store cards
  • Personal loans
  • Checking account overdrafts
  • Medical and dental bills
  • Certain tax obligations
  • Social Security and unemployment overpayments

Under Chapter 7 a trustee takes possession of your property that is not considered “exempt.” Common property types that you can keep when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York are:

  • Bank accounts with a total value of up to $2,500
  • Automobiles with equity of up to $2,400
  • A home you live in with equity of up to $50,000
  • Household goods and furnishings with a value of up to $5,000
  • Clothing and jewelry with a value of up to $5,000
  • Pension plans, IRAs, 401k, 403b, and other employer-sponsored retirements accounts

Unfortunately, not every debt can be wiped out. Debts that are not wiped out include:

  • Most taxes
  • Debts obtained through frad or deceptions
  • Child support and alimony payments
  • Court-ordered fines and criminal restitution
  • Student loans
  • Debts for personal injuries caused by driving while intoxicated

The fact is, filing for bankruptcy in New York doesn’t need to be scary or result in the loss of your belongings.  With over one million bankruptcy cases filed each year – tens of thousands of which are in New York – it’s impossible for the process to be the end of the world.  If it were, don’t you think you would have seen front page stories in the newspaper detailing the lives of people who have already gone through the process?