Why Choose Wani & Associates for your Bankruptcy Case

Because we will have in person consultation with you. We will discuss your case with and then you make an informed decision whether bankruptcy is a good option for you. And the best thing is you are not paying us  fee until you actually decide to file for the bankruptcy. To make an informed decision we will do the following:

Bankruptcy Attorney: $499 TO START BANKRUPTCY

Bankruptcy Attorney: $499 TO START BANKRUPTCY

  • We will go over your budget, to see what your actual expenses are.
  • We will also go over your current monthly income and statutory allowable expenses as those terms are explained below, to set up the means test, should you decide to file for bankruptcy.
  • We will go over your debts, to see how much you owe, and to whom.
  • We will advise you of your rights and duties.
  • We will explain the differences between secured claims, priority claims, and unsecured claims without priority.
  • We will tell you what debts are not forgiven (discharged) in a bankruptcy, if you decide to file.
  • We will give you a copy of this document, which contains disclosures that are required by federal law.
  • We will tell you your options.
    • You could do nothing. If you do nothing, your present (presumably unpleasant) situation will persist, then deteriorate, as creditors, one-by-one, file suit against you, and seek to grab your assets.
    • You could make one-on-one deals with your creditors. In this scenario you could be treated fairly, but remember that “fairness” is subjective term.
    • You could enter into a program where you pay the counselor or some other agency so much a month, and the agency will parcel that out to your creditors. This is called a “debt management plan.” Often there is a deal made by the agency to reduce your finance charges. Also, there is often a side deal between the agency and the credit card companies that lets the agency keep a portion of what you pay.
    • You could file bankruptcy. If you decide to file for bankruptcy we will ask you some documents, like your tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements and unpaid bills.
    • We will arrange for your counseling. You are required to have two counseling classes, one before filing and one after filing.
    • You can do your counseling by telephone.
    • You can do your counseling on-line, over the internet in our office or at your home.

 PRE-BANKRUPTCY COUNSELING

            You must use a counseling agency that is a non-profit agency approved by the Department of Justice, and you must do it before you are eligible to file any kind of case in bankruptcy. This is sometimes called the “gatekeeper” provision in the new bankruptcy law, the idea is to give you an impartial “second opinion” on what to do. We are not impartial. We are on your side. You must pay a fee for the counseling, if you can afford it. Only the very poor, those with severe medical problems or those on military duty will be excused from paying for the counseling.

Here is what to anticipate from counseling.

  1. The counselor will go over your budget, as we have already done.
  2. The counselor will go over your debts, as we have already done.
  3. The counselor will tell you there are several options, as we have already done. Among the most likely of these are the following:

 You could do nothing. If you do nothing, your present (presumably unpleasant) situation will persist, then deteriorate, as creditors, one-by-one, file suit against you, and seek to grab your assets.

  1. You could make one-on-one deals with your creditors. In this scenario you could be treated fairly, but remember that “fairness” is subjective term.
  2. You could enter into a program where you pay the counselor or some other agency so much a month, and the agency will parcel that out to your creditors. This is called a “debt management plan.” Often there is a deal made by the agency to reduce your finance charges. Also, there is often a side deal between the agency and the credit card companies that lets the agency keep a portion of what you pay.
  3. You could file bankruptcy. For purposes of this document, we will assume that you decide on a bankruptcy.
  4. Presumably, that brings you back to us.

 MEANS TESTING

There are income guidelines for the filing of chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is more than the guidelines, you may not be eligible for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Means testing is a two part calculation with several steps to each part that determines if you can be made to pay something to creditors. Here is the means test in a nutshell.

  • If your household income is OVER the median for your state; and
  • If after an elaborate calculation using IRS standards for living expenses;
  • You have $117 a month left over, then
  • There is substantial pressure under the statute for you to file CHAPTER 13

 The idea behind the means test is to see if you can actually afford to pay back some of the debt, even though you feel overwhelmed your current situation.

Here is the means test in detail.

  1. You give us your pay stubs for the last six months. If you cannot find them all, we will have to reconstruct them. You tell us what other revenue is coming into your home for the same time period. Exclude social security. We divide this by 6. The statute calls this your “Current Monthly Income.”
  2. If your Current Monthly Income is less than the MEDIAN INCOME for your state, and the size of your family, the means test is over, and you can go ahead with a chapter 7 filing, if you want, and if you are otherwise eligible.

If your income is ABOVE the MEDIAN, we go on to the rest of the test. Here is the rest of the means test.

  1. Subtract your expanses from your Current Monthly Income. You do not use your costs. You must use “Standard Expenses” developed by the IRS to help in collecting back taxes. As you can imagine, these standards are not particularly consumer friendly. We subtract the following.

        i.            National Standards for food, clothing, housekeeping, and personal care.

      ii.            Regional / Local Standards for transportation.

 The transportation standards were set when gasoline was about $1 less per gallon than on the effective date of the new law. We may be able to justify an upward adjustment. If your car payments put you over the allowance, you can make an upward adjustment, if you intend to keep the car(s).

     iii.            Local standards (by county) for housing and utility.

    iv.            You can probably justify an increase in any of these with proper proof.

      v.            You are also authorized to deduct certain specified items from your Current Monthly Income.

a)      Private School, with a limit of $1,650 per child per year;

b)      Actual elder-care expenses for a disabled or elderly family member.

  • We pull your credit report and go through it with you.
  • After the petition is prepared we go through it with you and make any changes/correction you may want to.
  • After you sign the petition we file it electronically. Filing of case puts and automatic stay on all your debts, means your creditors can’t approach you for payment of debts.
  • If you have secured property you may want to keep, you should continue to make the payments unless you want to surrender that property.
  • You have a trustee’s meeting after 30 days of filing the petition. We represent you in the trustee’s meeting.
  • If everything goes fine and you have no assets, you may get your discharge 60 days after the trustee’s meeting.
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