How fast can I file bankruptcy?

Transcript:

Hello, this is bankruptcy attorney Jeff Kelly, and today is August the 27th 2019. Today I’m going to talk about how fast you can file a bankruptcy case. Now, the short answer to this question is that in most cases, we can file a bankruptcy case in about three hours, if the bankruptcy attorney has a prepared client, sitting live in the office in front of them. Now, I’ve been practicing for over 21 years, I’ve got seven offices, five attorneys and about 20 staff members. If there is any law firm on planet Earth, that can move at the speed of light to file a consumer bankruptcy case, it is us. We’ve got the people power, and we’ve got the software to get the job done. 

However, the question behind the question is this. Do you really need to file a bankruptcy fast? Is it really an emergency? I’ll be honest with you, I hate filing emergency bankruptcy cases. Let me tell you why. My goal as a bankruptcy attorney is to do a fabulous job for all of my clients, for them to feel very good about what we do, to feel good about the results that we achieve, and then to go out and send all of their friends and family to us and help make my business even stronger. When you file an emergency case, I think you’re more likely to hit bumps. It’s really good to take time to think about these options to make sure you feel good about filing and that there’s no regrets after your file. So, I like to explore and sit down with somebody go through their income, go through their budget, go through all of their assets, and look for anything that might possibly blow up their case. I get it that when a creditor is coming down on you like a ton of bricks, there’s pressure, and you want the pressure to stop. A lot of people come to the office, and they think they’ve got to get a case number immediately. And the real truth is, they don’t. You know, here’s the most classic example is that a creditor is calling people on the phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, saying I’m suing you, I’m suing you, I’m going to take away everything you own, and people are people are like, “My gosh, I’ve got to do something right now!” Well, the truth is, in the state of Georgia, when somebody does file a lawsuit against you, you’ve got 30 days to respond. So it’s not like they can do anything to you tomorrow, or even the next day. You do have time to think about things. And it’s a really good thing to contemplate your options before you pull the trigger on a bankruptcy case.

Let me give you an example of somebody who could make a really huge, ginormous mistake by filing a chapter 7, and that is somebody with a significant amount of equity in their house. Now, under Georgia law, a married couple can exempt a maximum of $43,000 in equity, and a single person can exempt a maximum of 21,500. Now, here we are in 2019 and real estate values have been shooting through the roof and sometimes a lot faster and a lot higher than the owners of these houses realize. So it is possible that you could file a Chapter 7 case and think your house is worth $150,000 and Doggone it, it’s really worth 200, that would be a disaster for anyone because when you get into a chapter 7 situation, you can’t quit the case, if you don’t like the way that things are going, you are stuck. The chapter 7 trustee, if he or she moved to sell your house, they’re going to sell your house. Now you could convert to a chapter 13 to pay all your debts back to keep them from doing that, but that that’s a whole another story. The bottom line is you’re not going to be able to just quit and walk away from the problem that you’ve created by filing chapter 7 without truly looking at the value. 

Now, some people might say, “Well, wait, wait, wait, I’ve got an appraisal. And this appraisal is only a year old. And it says the house is worth x. So go away chapter 7 trustee, you can’t touch me.” Right? Wrong. Chapter 7 trustees have friends in the real estate business. And these friends in the real estate business make money by selling your house. So, if you have a real estate agent that looks at your house, and they think they can sell it for X amount of dollars, and they go find a buyer, that’s the key. And that’s all that matters. If they find a buyer, someone who’s willing to plunk down money, that’s greater than the amount you owe on the house and the amount of equity you can protect, they are going to take your house and they can.So you’ve got to be careful. If you’re filing a chapter 7 and you have a house and you’re on the borderline, as far as equity goes are thinking might be close to it. You really have to have a Clint Eastwood attitude of that, go ahead, make my day, sell my house, I dare you. Now with a chapter 13. If you’re filing an emergency chapter 13 and you don’t like the way things are going in almost every case, you have almost absolute right to just quit the case. But again, this is not to be taken lightly. The way a chapter 13 or chapter 7 case should work (in the ideal situation) is there should be a strong feeling of relief that you hadn’t been pushed into it, that you’ve made this decision, that you feel good about it, about wiping out the credit card debt, about stopping a foreclosure or stopping and garnishments, that you did what needed to be done to take care of the problem. 

And if you’ve got any questions at all, if you would like to sit down with us to review your situation, give us a call at 770-881-8449 we have offices located in Marietta, Kennesaw, Douglasville, Dalton, Carterville, Rome, and Dallas Georgia. I’ve got a lot of blog post on my main website, www.kellycanhelp.com give us a call and we look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you.

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