Philadelphia Bankruptcy Lawyer
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Our office has helped many thousands of individuals and families in Pennsylvania, both with and without Bankruptcy. We put a stop to Mortgage Foreclosures, Tax Foreclosures, Lawsuits, IRS Debt, Credit Card and medical debt, personal loans, and Bill Collectors every day in Philadelphia and beyond. We are currently rated five-stars by GOOGLE, are rated superb (10.0) by AVVO, have been awarded the five-star client’s choice award from Avvo year after year, have been rated as one of the three best bankruptcy lawyers in Philadelphia by Three Best Rated and Martindale Hubbell has also awarded our office the Client Distinction Gold Award year after year for exceptional service to clients. Our friendly office is BBB Accredited with an A+ rating.
There is a lot of confusion and misinformation on filing bankruptcy. Get straightforward and accurate bankruptcy information from an experienced, caring, and compassionate bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who will answer all the questions you may have. We help many people who don’t know where to begin or what to ask.
You will find that our office is very friendly and we are very easy to reach. We address any concerns you may have about filing for bankruptcy. We know you will get the answers to your questions and you will walk out feeling better than when you walked in. Many people who come into our office are way behind on their bills, with bill and debt collectors calling them on a regular basis. Other people who come into our office are completely up to date on all their bills, but they always pay the minimum payment with the amount of their bills never getting smaller. The interest rates on their bills are high and there is no way to simply pay off their bills in full.
The Law Offices of David M. Offen is highly rated among our previous clients.. We have helped the children and even the grandchildren of clients that we helped 20 years earlier. We have helped everyone from clients living on a fixed income, pensions or social security to upper income individuals, other lawyers to Court employees.
Don’t let your fear of Bankruptcy hold you back. Imagine what being debt free or seeing your bills cut in half would do for you.We will recommend when filing for Bankruptcy is the right move for you, as well as when filing for Bankruptcy is not your best bet. If there is a better solution, we will advise you of the same. About 1 in 5 individuals and families we advise not to file Bankruptcy. There are alternatives to Bankruptcy that may be worth looking at such as a mortgage forbearance arrangement, mortgage modification, debt settlement, payment plan negotiation.
We help people who don’t know where to begin or what to ask. Call us today to get your questions answered or to come in. We offer a totally Free Confidential Consultation where you speak with a bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia. We go through your situation and give you proper guidance and then advise you on the best move for you to make. Get immediate solutions on the best approach for you. We can tell you exactly how the law applies to you, and what steps you can take today for a better life tomorrow. We can help you to relieve your stress and allow you to feel much better in your financial situation. Stop worrying and start living a normal life.
Again, there is no need for you to come in. We can do everything over the phone. You may not know what to expect and you may end up being pleasantly surprised. Call or email us today or fill in the information below.
We have a reputation for honesty, integrity and excellent results. Check out our reviews, and our awards as our reputation speaks for itself . We give you a Totally free, confidential, no obligation evaluation and answers to any and all questions that you have so you find out all of your options. Our goal is to provide you with fast, caring, friendly and affordable debt relief
Let us help you today for a better financial life tomorrow. We can Get you the financial start you seek and the right financial lifeline for you to use. Take the first step by calling or emailing right now and start breathing easier. Transforming your life begins with your decision to find out how bankruptcy can turn your life around. Getting the right lawyer is the first step to turning around your financial life and getting a new start. Call the Law Offices of David M. Offen at 215-625-9600.
You might be afraid and concerned.
There’s no need to feel that way.
Know Your Basics
The most common type of bankruptcy is Chapter 7. Often referred to as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is used by those who don’t have a lot of property or other assets. As your Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney, we can show you how Chapter 7 allows you to discharge and wipe away most of your unsecured debt. Some examples of unsecured debt include:
- Credit card debt
- Lines of credit
- Medical debt
- Old utility bills
- Balances on auto loans after repossession
- Car accident judgments
- And more!
If you meet the qualifications for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will usually be able to keep all or nearly all of your property through various exemptions, such as homestead or personal property exemptions. You may also end up keeping some of the items you’ve taken out loans for, such as automobiles, appliances or furniture. You will generally need to continue paying those loans on the secured debts – home, car, and furniture. But to be certain, you will need to speak to a qualified Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia who can advise you on what will happen.
Some debts, such as student loans, criminal fines, intentional torts, and child support are not dischargeable. In order to discharge student loan debt, you need to file a special lawsuit asking the Court to allow the discharge of the debt, however, the standard which the Court uses makes it very difficult to discharge student loan debt.
Contact the Law Offices of David M. Offen today to speak with a Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney about filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy at (215) 625-9600.
Another common type of bankruptcy is Chapter 13. This type of bankruptcy is an individual reorganization plan which can help you keep your home if you are behind on your mortgage or real estate taxes and will stop foreclosure in Philadelphia and elsewhere. It also lets you keep your car if you are behind on your auto purchase loan. A repayment plan is filed with the court and generally lasts from three to five years. After you have made payments for three to five years, the rest of your debt is discharged without any further repayment. In many cases, you pay back little or no money at all on your unsecured debt. This type of bankruptcy is used to stop foreclosures, repossessions, when your income is too high for Chapter 7 and when your assets are worth a lot and you don’t want to lose any property. Our Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your financial situation and can help you to quickly get out of debt.
You need to know there are debt limits for Chapter 13 cases and if you exceed the limits you cannot file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. The limit for the total amount of secured debt is $1,257,850, and for unsecured debts, the limit is $419,275. Some bankruptcy courts have recently held that monies owed on student loans should not be included in the $419,275 limit. We can help you determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your financial situation.
Contact the Law Offices of David M. Offen today to speak with a Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney about filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy at (215) 625-9600.
In some cases, a repayment plan makes sense. Sometimes a forbearance plan may be a good idea and you usually have nothing to lose by asking for a forbearance plan or a mortgage loan modification as long as you are not under the threat of an immediate sheriff sale. You may also be able to get extra time to sell your property if that is your goal.
In some cases, if you don’t want to keep the property, the mortgage company will let you give them the property in what is known as a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
If you feel that the mortgage company has acted improperly or unfairly, then you can challenge the foreclosure in the State Courts. This will usually take several months at a minimum.
Sometimes filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you several months to get caught up or to stay in the property if you will no longer be making any mortgage payments. The mortgage foreclosure or tax foreclosure is stopped by the filing of the bankruptcy.
If you need a lot of time to get caught up and want to keep the property, then filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can get you up to five years to get fully caught up on the mortgage arrears for your property.
If the mortgage company has a judgment, you can file a motion to postpone the sheriff sale in the Court of Common Pleas, asking the judge to postpone the sheriff sale and giving you additional time to work things out.
The Law Offices of David M. Offen has stopped thousands of mortgage foreclosures and sheriff sales in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties.
When you file for bankruptcy protection in Philadelphia, the immediate effect is the bankruptcy court stops any creditor action against you. Any mortgage foreclosure on your home or real estate tax foreclosure is immediately stopped. Lawsuits against you are immediately stopped by the filing. Any auto repossession activity against you is prohibited as soon as you have filed for bankruptcy protection. Wage garnishment actions against you are prohibited. Utility shut-offs, such as electric, gas, water, and telephone services are prohibited once your bankruptcy case has been filed. Creditors are prohibited from calling you, billing you, sending you collection letters or harassing you in any way. The IRS, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the City of Philadelphia are prohibited from proceeding with Civil Tax Collection actions against you. In addition, individuals whose driver licenses were suspended due to a judgment for lack of auto insurance can have their driver licenses restored. In many cases, eviction actions against you are also stopped.
Individuals and couples come to our office to file for bankruptcy. Based on their situation, we advise them on whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or no bankruptcy is in their best interest. When filing for bankruptcy protection, we can also advise which day of the month is the best day to file for bankruptcy and bring the automatic bankruptcy stay into effect.
The following is the typical process of filing for Bankruptcy in Philadelphia:
- Get the information of the creditors to whom you owe money and your income information, as well as a list of any assets that you have and the appropriate information on them. We always get a copy of the Credit report showing who your creditors are. We also put together a list of all your assets as well as any liabilities (debts) that you have outstanding.
- Before you file for Bankruptcy in Philadelphia, you are required under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to complete credit counseling with only very limited exceptions to the Credit Counseling requirements. This type of counseling is usually less than an hour long and can be done on the phone or the computer. The brief session reviews your financial situation and discusses options for dealing with your debt that usually confirms that Bankruptcy is your best option.
- Complete the Bankruptcy Petition whether you are filing for protection under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. There are over 20 different forms which total over 60 pages which need to be properly completed. There is a Voluntary Petition asking the Court to give you Bankruptcy protection where you must state if you are a renter and if you have filed for Bankruptcy within the last 8 years. The Schedules are as follows:
1. Schedule A and B – a list of your real estate and personal assets,
2. Schedule C – a list of your exemptions,
3. Schedule D – a list of your secured debt,
4. Schedule E – a list of your priority debt such as taxes,
5. Schedule F – a list of your general unsecured debts,
6. Schedule G – covers pending contracts and unexpired leases,
7. Schedule H is a list of Co-Debtors or any Co-Signers that you have also signed for a debt, Schedule I – a list of your monthly Income and
8. Schedule J is a list of your monthly expenses.
You need to sign a form that the Schedules are true to the best of your knowledge.
- There is the Statement of Financial Affairs where you answer questions about finances, assets and any business you have.
- Next is the Summary of your assets and liabilities showing the total of your assets and debts. When filing a Chapter 7 you fill in a Statement of Intention regarding what you intend to do with your mortgage, car or other secured debt.
When filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you file a Repayment Plan instead
In addition, when filing Chapter 7 you must file a current monthly income and Chapter 7 means test. This shows if you if your income and expenses justify you getting relief under Chapter 7.
If you file for Chapter 13 you must file the statement of current monthly income and expenses which shows if you are able to afford to pay back your creditors,
Lastly, there are forms where you fill in your social security number and another form called a matrix that the court uses to mail notices of your bankruptcy filing to all of your creditors.
- The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia is located at 900 Market Street. This is the location where any type of bankruptcy case: Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 11 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed in Philadelphia. When an attorney files the bankruptcy, it is filed online. A case number is given immediately upon the filing of the case and that is the case number you give to creditors who are now prohibited from contacting you. The automatic stay from the Bankruptcy filing now protects you.
- After filing, a trustee is appointed to review your case. The trustee is appointed whether you file for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Your bankruptcy lawyer supplies the trustee copies of documents such as proof of your income, your bank balance statements, your last filed tax return (if you file taxes) and other documents regarding your assets and debts.
- In Philadelphia, when you file for bankruptcy protection, the meeting of creditors, also known as The Section 341(a) meeting required under Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code is usually scheduled within 30-40 days.
- Take the second bankruptcy course, also known as a debtor education or financial management class. This course is taken on the phone or online. You will be issued a certificate showing you have completed the session. Try to take this class prior to the meeting of creditors.
- Section 341(a) Meeting of Creditors – This is where your attorney goes with you to meet your trustee. The trustee will ask questions to confirm that the Bankruptcy Petition is accurate. The trustee is looking to confirm that the information about your income, expenses, assets and liabilities is correct. He or she also looks to ensure that you have no valuable assets that you are trying to hide and that you have not transferred your property to friends or relatives. The meeting of creditors usually takes about 10-15 minutes. You must have a government issued photo ID and proof of your social security number in order for the meeting to be held.
- At the conclusion of a Chapter 7 meeting of creditors, the trustee will usually recommend a discharge if there are no issues. If the trustee has a question, he may ask for more documentation or in some cases continue the hearing. If the trustee finds no assets, he will file a report indicating no assets and issue a recommendation for a discharge. If there are no objections filed, the bankruptcy judge will usually enter a discharge approximately 60-75 days after the meeting of creditors.
- In a Chapter 13 case, the trustee will indicate anything else your lawyer should do with your case or if there is any need to change your repayment plan. Your bankruptcy lawyer will update the repayment plan to cover the allowable claims which are owed. If creditors object to your plan, it usually relates to a mortgage or car loan you want to keep that is not being correctly paid. Your bankruptcy attorney will then file an amended plan so that your plan matches what you owe. Once the Trustee is satisfied with your plan, the Trustee issues a recommendation to approve the plan, which the Court typically accepts. The Bankruptcy Judge then issues an Order confirming which means the Court is approving the plan.
The key to protecting your assets when you filing for bankruptcy is the proper use of the exemptions allowed under the law. You need to choose whether you want to use the Federal Exemptions or use the Exemptions allowed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In most cases, the Federal exemptions are preferable and will be used in over 95% of cases based on our experience. However, in certain situations such as a married couple that jointly owns property with substantial equity, the State Exemptions may provide you with a superior result. By informing your attorney of your financial situation, you can be given proper advice to protect your assets and achieve the best financial results by having your lawyer select the best exemptions for your situation.
Our office, with its many years of experience, provides personal service to each individual and family. Some people we helped were:
- Federal, State, and City Government workers
- Computer programmers
- Hospital workers
- Doctors, nurses, and caretakers
- Factory workers
- Police officers
- School teachers
- Supermarket employees
- Insurance company employees
- Other lawyers
- Maintenance and repair workers
- Retail clerks
- Postal workers
- SEPTA workers
- Utility workers
- Construction workers
- Truck drivers
- Taxi drivers
- Uber and Lyft drivers
- Office and union workers
- Federal, State and City Court employees
- Self-employed persons
- Unemployed people
- Persons on social security and
- and many other people just like you
There is no such thing as a bad question. The only bad question is the one that you don’t ask. The Law Offices of David M. Offen has represented many lawyers who have their own debt problems. If the lawyers that we represent have questions about their own situations, isn’t it natural to expect that you will have many questions about your situation? These may include:
- Can I keep all my property?
- How do I save my home?
- How do I save my car?
- How can I stop the foreclosure?
- Can I file for bankruptcy without my spouse?
- Should I file bankruptcy at all?
- What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in my case?
- Is bankruptcy the best approach or are there other options?
- Is debt settlement a better idea?
Make up a list of questions and ask questions – lots of them. Don’t make a mistake. The more you know, the better off you are. Get answers to all of your questions from a very experienced Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney. We will tell you the best action for you to take in your situation. You will be glad that you reached out to us and may well wish you had contacted us sooner.
There are many benefits to filing for bankruptcy in Philadelphia. The end result in almost all Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases is the discharge of nearly all of your unsecured debts. Credit card debts, personal loans, medical debt, payday loans, some old tax debts, and many other debts can be eliminated and discharged. If you are in arrears on a car or mortgage then you are required to quickly get caught up if you file for protection under Chapter 7.
If you are unable to get caught up quickly, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be your much better option as you are given up to five years to get caught up on mortgage loan payments, auto loan payments or back real estate taxes. If a foreclosure has begun or a sheriff sale has been scheduled, it will stop the proceedings against you. If you owe the IRS recent taxes which are non-dischargeable, you can also get up to five years to repay. If you have a high income and are not eligible for Chapter 7 then Chapter 13 is a good option. Chapter 13 freezes your bills and gives you up to five years to pay back based on what you can afford to pay with no interest charges at all.
We can guide you as to which type of bankruptcy filing would get you the best result – filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy or no bankruptcy filing at all.
The bankruptcy law in Pennsylvania gives a choice of exemptions to help protect your property as discussed above and we can guide you as to which exemptions will be better in your specific case. We can also advise you whether filing bankruptcy individually or jointly is better for you.
What you should not do is listen to what other individuals tell you who do not have a thorough understanding of bankruptcy law in Philadelphia. You may be told your situation is hopeless when in reality you can be helped very easily. What applies in one person’s case is often totally inapplicable to a different case. Just one fact, such as having a mortgage, a lower-income, an IRS debt, or a lot of assets can totally distinguish one case from another. Every day, people come into our office telling us what they understand bankruptcy can and cannot do and the information they have been given is often totally inaccurate. We know how to help you improve your financial life.
To learn more about your bankruptcy options, you need the best Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney – so please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will review your financial situation and provide personal advice and guidance about your best legal options – both Bankruptcy and Non-Bankruptcy. Don’t feel your situation is hopeless. There are more options available than you may realize. Call our office today at (215) 625-9600 for your Free Consultation to get advice for immediate help with your financial situation.
David M. Offen, Bankruptcy Attorney in Philadelphia, PA
David M. Offen has over 20 years of experience as a bankruptcy lawyer and has helped over 12,000 individuals and families go through the Bankruptcy process. These filings have included stopping foreclosure on a home, stopping repossession of a car or vehicle, stopping IRS tax levies and frozen bank accounts and putting a stop to lawsuits, credit card bills, personal loans, bills, utility shutoffs and other types of debt.
Should I File Bankruptcy?
Find out today if Bankruptcy may be a right move for you.