Does hiding assets in bankruptcy protect them from your creditors?
If you own too many assets to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may still be able to file for Chapter 13. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you propose a repayment plan to the court that lasts for three to five years.
During that time, you make payments to your creditors each month. At the end of the repayment period, the court discharges any remaining balances on your qualifying debts.
It’s possible to protect assets when you file, but don’t ever assume that hiding assets in bankruptcy is worth the effort. It not only puts your case at risk of dismissal, but it’s also fraud. It can get you into a lot of trouble.
If you’re considering bankruptcy, you may be wondering what the difference is between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Here are five key differences:
What’s the Difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your income must be below the median income for your state. If it’s above that amount, you may still qualify if your expenses are high enough. There is no income limit for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy lasts for a maximum of six months, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy can last for up to five years.
In Chapter 7, you can only discharge unsecured debts (e.g., credit card debt, medical bills) up to a certain amount. In Chapter 13, you can discharge all of your unsecured debts.
In Chapter 7, you may have to give up some of your property to repay your creditors. There are no such requirements in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Instead of hiding assets in bankruptcy, consider opting for the chapter that allows you to protect those assets legally.
A key difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is the payment plan. In Chapter 7, you must repay your creditors in full within a set period of time.
In Chapter 13, you have to repay your creditors over a three- to five-year period, but you can also include your mortgage and car payments in the plan.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind if you’re considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
First, you’ll need to have a regular source of income to qualify.
Second, the amount of debt you owe will affect the length of your repayment plan. And finally, you may be required to pay back a portion of your debt through your repayment plan.
What Happens If You Can’t Afford Your Chapter 13 Payments?
In some cases, people only qualify for Chapter 13 initially. However, over time, their situation changes and they aren’t able to afford their payments.
If you’ve filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s important to make your payments on time. But what happens if you can’t continue making those payments?
There are a few things that could happen if you’re unable to make your Chapter 13 payments. Your case could be dismissed, or your creditors could ask the court to convert your case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If the court dismisses your case, you’ll likely have to start over with a new bankruptcy case. This could mean giving up some of the property you’ve been able to keep in your Chapter 13 case. Hiding assets in bankruptcy isn’t worth the risk.
If your creditors ask the court to convert your case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have to sell some of your property to pay off your debts. And, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you would likely have to give up all of your property to your creditors.
It’s important to make your payments on time if you’ve filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you can’t continue making those payments, talk to an attorney about what could happen in your case.
Speak to an Attorney Who Can Help You without Hiding Assets in Bankruptcy
If you’re not sure whether Chapter 13 is the right option for you, it’s best to speak with a bankruptcy attorney. Never assume that hiding assets in bankruptcy is the solution. It’s always better to opt for Chapter 13 if you have too many assets to file for Chapter 7.
For more information or discuss what you can do about protecting your assets, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 to schedule a free consultation.