Category Archives: Property

Do I Need to Keep Paying Homeowners’ Insurance after I Surrender my Home in Bankruptcy?

After the surrender of a home or other real estate in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Michigan, you should still keep the property properly insured until you are no longer the titled owner of the property.

Click here to read more about homeowners insurance after a surrender in bankruptcy on the new Michigan Bankruptcy Blog of Michigan Bankruptcy Attorneys The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact us at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Does the Death of a Debtor Stop a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case?

Death during a Chapter 7 or Chapter 3 Bankruptcy will not automatically stop the bankruptcy case. Strange as it may sound, further steps are required, and, in some cases, it may be best to continue the case even after an unfortunate passing.

Click here to read more about death during bankruptcy on the new Michigan Bankruptcy Blog of Michigan Bankruptcy Attorneys The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact me at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Are Assets in a Trust Protected in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Placing assets into a trust may not be an effective way to protect your personal property if you are planning to file a bankruptcy in Michigan.

Click here to read more about the protection of assets in trusts during Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies in Michigan on the new Michigan Bankruptcy Blog of Michigan Bankruptcy Attorneys The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact us at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.

What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a “reorganization” bankruptcy rather than a complete liquidation of debt as in a Chapter 7. A Chapter 13 is, basically, a payment plan enforced by the Federal Bankruptcy Court upon all of your creditors, whether the debt is a “dischargeable” debt like a credit card or “non-dischargeable” debt like a child support arrearage or recent income taxes owed. Contrary to popular belief, you are not required to pay back 100% of what you owe to your creditors in a Chapter 13.

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A Hidden Advantage of Not Reaffirming: the Freedom to Move

Guest Post by Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney Peter Bricks.

A reaffirmed mortgage is a mortgage that you remain stuck with just as much after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy as you were before the Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A non-reaffirmed mortgage after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a mortgage you can walk away from if you need to.

To read more, click here to read our full article about the advantages of not reaffirming a mortgage in Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Michigan on the new Michigan Bankruptcy Blog of Michigan bankruptcy attorneys The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact me at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.

How Much Can my Chapter 7 Banrkuptcy Trustee Can Take from Me?

Most Chapter 7 cases that I handle as a Michigan bankruptcy attorney are “no-asset” bankruptcy cases, meaning that, after I  have exempted the filing individual’s personal assets from the bankruptcy estate created by the filing of the bankruptcy petition, there is nothing left available for the Trustee to liquidate (seize and sell off for cash) and distribute to creditors. In fact, the great majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases filed anywhere are “no-asset” cases of this sort.

However, some cases are “asset” cases that do involve a transfer of assets from the filing individual’s ownership to the creditors whose debts he or she is discharging by way of the Chapter 7 Trustee assigned to the case, whose job is to do just that.

Sometimes, however, a filing individual does have more property or more cash assets in their possession than the exemptions in the Bankruptcy Code allow me to protect. (The exemptions are bits of the Bankruptcy Code statute that allow me to remove up to certain dollar-amounts of certain types of property from that legal “bankruptcy estate” containing otherwise everything the individual owns or is owed at the timing of the filing of the case.) These cases are called “asset” cases.

Usually, the available bankruptcy exemptions are sufficient to protect, if not ALL of somebody’s property, nearly all of it and what the Trustee manages to liquidate and distribute to creditors is less than what the individual owes to their creditors. This is sometimes only a few thousand dollars or less, which may be a small price for the individual to pay to discharge and walk away from tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt.

Occasionally, however, the asset liquidated by the Trustee may be quite valuable. On extremely rare occasions, its value may outstrip the total dollar amount owed to the individual’s creditors.

Of course, this is rare because the calculation by the filing individual of the worthwhileness of the bankruptcy’s filing in the first place may be premised upon the fact that they will lose less to the Bankrutpcy Trustee than they owe; if they could simply sell off a valuable asset in order to pay creditors off and avoid bankruptcy in the first place, this is generally preferable. When this occurs, it may be because a filing individual has underestimated the value of an asset, did not realize that they owned it in the first place (e.g., a piece of real estate titled to them by an elderly relative without their knowledge, etc.), or for other reasons.

What happens then?

The Trustee takes a small percentage of the amount distributed to creditors, naturally. After that, however, Section 726 of the Bankruptcy Code governs how creditors are paid and in what order. Creditors are paid by the Trustee according to the timing of the claims that they file with the Bankruptcy Court when the Trustee alerts them that there is an asset to be distributed and according to their classification as “secured” creditors (holding debts with collateral attached to them) or “unsecured” creditors (holding debts with no collateral attached to them). Interest owed is paid as well, under certain circumstances.

However, after all creditors have been paid in accordance with Section 726, the Debtor him- or herself (i.e., the individual who filed the bankruptcy) is then paid.

In other words, you can only pay 100% of what you owe–and no more. If an asset liquidated by the Trustee brings more money to the Trustee for distribution to creditors than those creditors are actually owed, the filing individual will get money back from the Trustee. Eventually. (This distribution process can take months or years to complete.)

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact me at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Home Short Sale After Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Why They Often Don’t Go Together

Guest Post by Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney Peter Bricks.

Guest poster Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney Peter Bricks has serious concerns about the efficacy of attempting a short sale of a home after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

To read more, click here to access Attorney Bricks’ full article on this subject on the new Michigan Bankruptcy Blog of The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact attorney John Hilla at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.