Law Office of Randall E. Kehoe - Schenectady Bankruptcy Lawyer

Many people who find themselves in serious financial hardship attempt first to consolidate their debt in hopes of reducing their monthly payments on credit cards, personal loans, student loans, old medical bills, and other debt. What happens very often, however, is that these debt consolidation services leave their clients very disatisfied and with a heavier debt burden. Bankruptcy, however, can eliminate your unsecured debt, stop wage garnishments and pending lawsuits, and allow you to reorganize your finances to save an impending home foreclosure. You can keep your real estate, automobile, other personal property and begin rebuilding your credit immediately. To discuss how you may beneift from filing Chapter 7 or 13, contact us to speak with a Schenectady bankruptcy lawyer. Attorney Randall Kehoe has over 20 years experience practicing bankruptcy law in the Capital Region and can help you eliminate debt in 8 easy steps:

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Step 1: Determine if You Qualify

Not everyone qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This chapter of the Bankruptcy code is reserved for individuals who make approximately $48,000/year or less. This number varies by county and is adjusted for married couples and those with children or other dependents living in the household. Other factors that will determine your qualification for Chapter 7 include home equity, recent cash advances and tax refunds, among others. Those who do not qualify for liquidation under Chapter 7 can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy will not eliminate all unsecured debts but does provide helpful financial protection. -> Learn more about Chapter 13.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Documents

Once you speak with an attorney to determine which chapter of bankruptcy you will be filing, we will need to compile information about your debts. The best place to start is by getting a copy of your credit report. You can obtain 1 free copy every year from AnnualCreditReport.com. This website does not require any kind of enrollment, credit card information, or other term. Your credit report will list most, if not all, of your current debts whether in good standing or not. If you have other debts that do not appear on the credit report, you will need to supply us with that information. We will use this information to begin creating your bankruptcy Petition, which you will come in to our office to sign. If you own real estate, we will also need a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) to verify the value of your real property and show what equity, if any, you have in the homestead. Contact a local real estate broker for a free CMA.

You will also have to supply us with your 2 most recent income tax returns and 6 weeks of your most recent pay stubs (or equivalent). Those on SSI/Disability, Unemployment, or other with no pay stubs will have to sign an Income Affidavit that we will provide.

Step 3: Complete Our Bankruptcy Questionnaire

Included in our free Bankruptcy Information Packet is a Bankruptcy Questionnaire. This document is several pages of questions regarding your current debts, assets, and personal identification information. Our office will use this information to create your bankruptcy Petition which will be filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy court. Do not let the Questionnaire overwhelm you. Be sure to complete pages 1 and 2 with your accurate contact and identification information and call our office if you have questions about the rest. In most cases, you will not have to complete the Debt section, as we will be able to get that from your credit report. To request our Bankruptcy Questionnaire, please call our office or complete the "Get Started Now" form provided here on our website.

Step 4: Sign Your Petition

Once your bankruptcy Petition has been completed, we will invite you to come sign at our office in downtown Albany, New York. If you are disabled or otherwise unable to come to our office, please contact us about special arrangements.

Step 5: Credit Counseling Course #1

Before we can file your petition with the bankruptcy court, you will need to complete your first of two Consumer Credit Counseling Courses. These courses provide useful information about budgeting and managing your income vs. expenses. It can be completed online or over the phone with any company qualified to provide these services in the Northern District of New York. In our Bankruptcy Information Packet, we will send you cards to a few of the least expensive companies we have found that charge approximately $30.00 or less. The course usually takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete.

Step 6: Pay All Fees & File

Our office charges a flat and final $795.00 for single-filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings. Filing jointly with a spouse costs $100.00 more ($895.00 total). The bankruptcy court charges a $299.00 filing fee. Our attorney fees for Chapter 13 start at $1,250.00 but please contact us to discuss all details of your case. All fees must be paid in full before we can file your petition. You are welcome to make payment to our office while you gather all necessary documents and complete your first Credit Counseling Course. Once all fees are paid, we will file your petition with the Bankruptcy Court. At that time, you will receive a Case Number and all attempts from your creditors to collect a debt must stop. Pending lawsuits must also halt. This is the first step in stopping current wage garnishments and dealing with any judgments. Approximately 30 days after filing, you will meet with Mr. Kehoe at the Bankruptcy Court for a 341 meeting with the Bankruptcy Trustee.

Step 7: Credit Counseling Course #2

In order to receive your discharge, you must complete your second and final Credit Counseling Course. Like CC1 (the first Consumer Credit Counseling Course), CC2 can be taken online or over the phone with any provider certified in the Northern District of New York. CC2 typically costs the same or less than CC1, but you will want to set aside some time as this course takes several hours to complete. If you do not complete your second Credit Counseling course within 30 days of filing, your bankruptcy Petition may be dismissed.

Step 8: Attend 341 Meeting

Approximately 30 days after filing a bankruptcy Petition, you will be required to meet with the bankruptcy Trustee and any appearing creditors at a 341 meeting held at your local bankruptcy court. Here in the Northern District of New York, you will attend this meeting at the bankruptcy court in downtown Albany or Utica. You will need to bring your Social Security Card and one other form of valid identification. Mr. Kehoe will attend this meeting with you, which does not usually last more than one half hour. Approximately 60 days after your 341 meeting, you will receive notification from the bankruptcy court that your debts have been discharged and your case will be closed if you filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 filers will receive information about your payment structure to the Trustee's office over the next 60 months.

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