Finding Success Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a valuable tool that allows you to manage debt without the scorched earth approach of Chapter 7. In Chapter 13, you’re able to keep your assets and retain control of your income but still, benefit from the discharge that comes with more drastic forms of bankruptcy.
But getting to that Chapter 13 debt discharge can be tricky for some people. Many transition to Chapter 7 midway through Chapter 13 or they don’t complete bankruptcy at all and lose the benefits they should’ve enjoyed in the plan.
What can you do to make sure your Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a Success?
Know Your Power and Your Responsibilities
Start by acknowledging the power you have in Chapter 13. You are not handing over complete control of your finances to a trustee.
Instead, you’re creating a repayment plan based on your specific financial situation. The court needs to confirm it, but it’s up to you to make the initial decisions about the plan. The best way you can increase your odds of completing the plan is to design the plan to be realistic and achievable.
It can help to:
- Create goals
- Have a savings focus
- Prioritize debts properly
Remember, the most valuable thing bankruptcy provides is an opportunity to walk away from deals you can no longer afford. But to achieve success, you must first focus on debts you need to pay.
Create a Realistic Payment Plan
It’s also important when designing your Chapter 13 plan to be realistic about your cost of living. It’s not going to help you at all in the long-run if you underestimate your living expenses. You need to make realistic assumptions about your day-to-day and month-to-month cost of living so the plan you come away with is feasible over three to five years.
For more tips on creating a manageable Chapter 13 payment plan, check out this information from Nolo.com.
This isn’t to say that you can’t make changes if something in your life changes within this time. But estimating a food budget of $100 for a family of four just to make a plan possible on paper does nothing to set you up for failure.
- Use automatic payments for your Chapter 13 repayment plan.
- Setting up auto-pay for your Chapter 13 plan is one of the easiest and best ways to ensure success. People who need to manually make their payment are more apt to fall behind than those who can put payment obligations on autopilot. It’s simply common financial sense can set you up for success.
- Find an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you with the plan.
Keep in touch with your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney after you file, inform him or her of any changes that affect your ability to meet your payment obligations, and be proactive when it comes to solving problems. There’s some flexibility in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but only when you are open and honest about your situation.
If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy or you want to do all you can to ensure Chapter 13 success, contact the Law Office of Robert M. Geller at (813) 254-5696 or schedule a bankruptcy lawyer appointment at one of our conveniently located Tampa area bankruptcy law office locations.