Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases can get a lot done. In some cases I can discharge taxes, get rid of a second mortgage, and pay off your student loans in one grand gesture through the bankruptcy court….
But three to five years is a very long time in real life and many of my clients have 100 questions and they all go something like “What if during my case fill in the blank with nightmare/lottery winning scenario here?
This is a fair reaction. A lot of people look at a Chapter 13 case and all they see is inflexible terms dictating what they must pay because of the means test or because their income was too high or because they had equity in their home.
Here is the good news: Your Chapter 13 case is not as inflexible as you think!
Let’s say you lose a job/have your hours cut or get injured or get sick. You have options. I have reviewed paystubs halfway through a bankruptcy case because a client lost one job and got a lower paying job. I amended their income schedule and expense schedule and modified the plan to a lower payment. Not a big deal in most cases.
If I am only in a Chapter 13 case for income reasons alone, we can discuss switching your case to a Chapter 7, if you qualify, so that you can get the benefit of your discharge.
If we are doing other magic in your case or your plan payment is more inflexible due to an equity/arrearage issue we can stretch a 36 month plan out to a 60 month plan or contact the creditor that is causing the issue and see if there is a way to work something out. This doesn’t always work out but we are more than happy to try and have seen some good results for all parties because of it.
If you were to pass away during your case, heaven forbid, your case can either be dismissed or be paid off by your heirs and assigns. We will be here to help anyone that you have left behind with your case and anything else they may need guidance with in the event that something terrible happens to you. Unfortunately, we have seen this happen but the good news is that because of our experience in the past we can help your loved ones going forward.
LOTTERY WINNING SCENARIO
That’s great! Let’s call the Trustee and pay off your plan/creditors! Case closed! If you are feeling particularly grateful to us we like Fiji! (hint hint)
The most important way to protect yourself from all the what ifs is to make sure you have hired an experienced bankruptcy attorney that is well versed in how to navigate every scenario in the system.
Our office is happy to discuss your Chapter 13 case and any what-ifs you may have concerns about as you enter the bankruptcy process.
Give our office a call at 732-302-9600 or fill our online consultation form and we will be happy to call you!