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What's the Difference Between Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
A successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing discharges (eliminates) unsecured debts like credit card debt, utility bills, payday loans and medical bills.
Those wishing to file Chapter 7 must "pass" the Chapter 7 means test, which determines a person's eligibility. Generally, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a debt-relief option for people who:
• are having difficulty making bill payments
• have experienced income loss and/or incurred unexpected expenses
• have little/no money left after paying monthly bills
• rent or have little equity in their home
Chapter 7 also provides the protection of the automatic stay, which may stop creditor harassment, lawsuits, wage garnishment and repossessions.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Under a Chapter 13 repayment plan, the filer works with a bankruptcy trustee to establish a realistic plan to catch up on their past-due balances while maintaining their current payments.
Most plans allow 3-5 years for the filer to get back on track. At the end of the plan, if all payments were made on time, any left over unsecured debt may be discharged.
Once a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed, a court order goes into effect that prohibits creditors from contacting the filer and it may stop foreclosure, repossession, lawsuits and wage garnishments.
What Property Does the Federal Bankruptcy Exemption Protect?
The following Exemptions are some of the current federal exemption amounts. The amounts are adjusted every three years in April and the last adjustment occurred in 2013. If there is no dollar amount stated, you can exempt the entire asset regardless of its value. Also, if you are a married couple filing jointly, you can double the exemption amounts listed.
- The Homestead Exemption is designed to protect the equity in your principal place of residence. Keep in mind that you cannot use the homestead exemption on your investment or rental properties. You can currently protect a portion of the equity in your home under the federal exemptions.
The Personal Property Exemption includes all property you have other than real estate. The following are some of the most important federal personal property exemptions:
- $3,675 for your motor vehicle
$1,550 for jewelry
- $1,550 for jewelry
- $12,250 aggregate value ($575 per individual item) on household goods, furnishings and appliances, clothes, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments
- $2,300 for tools of trade including implements and book
- Health aids
- Life insurance policies that have not matured except credit life insurance, and
- $12,250 in loan value of life insurance policy.
- $3,675 for your motor vehicle
- Exemptions related to Support or Benefits
- Domestic maintenance such as alimony or child support reasonably necessary for you six (6) r support.
- Life insurance payments that you need for support under policy of someone you were a dependent of.
Social security, unemployment benefits and compensation, veteran’s benefits, public assistance, and disability or illness benefits.
- Exemptions on Recovery Received Due to Injury
- $22,975 for personal injury except pain and suffering or pecuniary loss
- award for loss of future earnings needed for support
- recovery for wrongful death of person you were a dependent of needed for support, and
- compensation received for being a crime victim.
- You can apply the Federal Wildcard Exemption to any property you own. Currently you are allowed $1,225 plus $11,500 of any unused portion of your homestead exemption to exempt any type of property.
- Retirement Account Exemptions are retirement accounts that are exempt from taxation, which usually include most genuine non-fraudulent retirement accounts, are fully exempt. However there is a cap of $1,245,475 on IRAs and Roth IRAs.