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Consumer's Guide to Bankruptcy

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					    CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO
       BANKRUPTCY



              WHAT WILL YOU GET FROM THIS GUIDE?

     A basic understanding of the 2 main types of consumer bankruptcy,
     valuable insights into evaluating bankruptcy as a debt reduction tool,
       and practical guidance for finding a quality bankruptcy attorney.


                               Topics covered:

-   An overview of the bankruptcy process.
-   Key bankruptcy terms like: “discharge,” “automatic stay,” and “exemptions.”
-   Chapter 7 bankruptcy: what it is, how it works, and when it is preferred.
-   Chapter 13 bankruptcy: what it is, how it works, and when it is preferred.
-   How bankruptcy can save a home from foreclosure or a car from repossession.
-   5 good reasons to file bankruptcy.
-   5 good reasons not to file bankruptcy.
-   3 alternatives to filing for bankruptcy.
-   5 questions to ask when interviewing a prospective bankruptcy attorney.
Dear Friend,

       Deciding if you need to file for bankruptcy is not an easy thing. Why not? Because you
do not know if it can help your situation, but you do know there is a lot of emotion that goes
along with just thinking about filing.

       How do you assess bankruptcy as a potential solution to your debt problems? How can
you look past the emotional to consider the practical? You begin by reading this guide.

       I wrote this guide so that individuals, couples, and families just like you can get a better
understanding of the bankruptcy process and the different solutions available to you. There is a
lot of misinformation out there about bankruptcy, and there are some great aspects of
bankruptcy that most people do not know about. For those of you that are considering filing
bankruptcy as a means to get out of debt, this guide should be invaluable.

       I work in Franklin, Tennessee, but the truths and the principles contained in this guide
should apply to you no matter what state you live in. And because I am an attorney, I have to
provide a disclaimer about the content and purpose of this guide1.

        I practice bankruptcy law because I get to meet a variety of people from different walks
of life and help them walk through their difficult financial situations. I get to see marriages
restored, pride returned, burdens lifted, and shame fade away. It is an absolute blessing to do
what I do.

       If you have any questions about what you read in this guide, please feel free to call me at
615-807-1064 or email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com.

                                                                         Cordially,


                                                                         GordonH.Boutwell



1
   This guide is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice or as legal opinion. No
attorney-client relationship is created by your reading, using, or relying upon information found within this guide. You
should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to your particular issue or problem. While I intend to make
every effort to ensure that all information in this guide is accurate and current, I do not make any representation or
assume liability for the content, accuracy, timeliness, completeness or any other aspect of the information provided.

2              Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                 or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                        TABLE OF CONTENTS




What is bankruptcy?..................................................................................................................4

Terms you need to know:
           DISCHARGE........................................................................................................6
          AUTOMATIC STAY..........................................................................................7
          EXEMPTIONS......................................................................................................8

Chapter 7 bankruptcy...........................................................................................................10

Chapter 13 bankruptcy.........................................................................................................11

Saving a home from foreclosure or a car from repossession.............................12

5 good reasons to file bankruptcy...................................................................................13

5 good reasons not to file bankruptcy...........................................................................16

3 alternatives to filing for bankruptcy...........................................................................19

5 questions to ask when meeting a prospective bankruptcy attorney............20

About the author……………………………………………………………….…25


3                Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                  Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                   or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                              WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?



       Bankruptcy	
  is	
  a	
                    There	
  are	
  2	
  main	
  types	
  of	
  consumer	
  bankruptcies:	
  
                                                  Chapter	
  7	
  and	
  Chapter	
  13.	
  	
  Both	
  help	
  you	
  with	
  your	
  
       legal	
  process	
  in	
  which	
          debt,	
  but	
  in	
  very	
  different	
  ways.	
  	
  	
  
       individuals,	
  couples,	
                 	
  
       families,	
  and	
                         As	
  you	
  consider	
  bankruptcy	
  as	
  a	
  possible	
  debt	
  
                                                  resolution	
  tool,	
  it	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  know	
  how	
  and	
  to	
  
       businesses	
  can	
  
                                                  what	
  extent	
  each	
  chapter	
  eliminates	
  debt,	
  and	
  what	
  is	
  
       eliminate,	
  repay,	
  or	
  
                                                  required	
  of	
  you	
  during	
  each,	
  so	
  that	
  you	
  can	
  know	
  
       restructure	
  some	
  or	
                which	
  option	
  is	
  the	
  best	
  for	
  you.
       all	
  of	
  their	
  debts.	
  	
  	
  

                                                  WHY FILE?
                                                  People	
  file	
  bankruptcies	
  for	
  a	
  variety	
  of	
  reasons.	
  	
  	
  
                                                  	
  
                                                  You	
  may	
  file	
  to	
  obtain	
  a	
  discharge	
  of	
  their	
  debts.	
  	
  The	
  
	
                                                discharge	
  frees	
  you	
  from	
  your	
  oppressive	
  financial	
  
                                                  situation,	
  and	
  provides	
  you	
  a	
  fresh	
  financial	
  start,	
  by	
  
	
                                                eliminating	
  some	
  or	
  all	
  of	
  your	
  debts.	
  	
  	
  
	
                                                         	
  
                                                  You	
  could	
  also	
  file	
  to	
  invoke	
  the	
  automatic	
  stay,	
  
	
                                                which	
  can	
  stop	
  creditor	
  harassment	
  and	
  lawsuits,	
  and	
  
                                                  protect	
  your	
  house	
  from	
  foreclosure,	
  your	
  car	
  from	
  
                                                  repossession	
  or	
  your	
  paycheck	
  from	
  garnishment.	
  
                                                  	
  
                                                  Others	
  file	
  to	
  restructure	
  and	
  consolidate	
  debt	
  into	
  a	
  
                                                  manageable	
  payment.	
  	
  	
  
                                                  	
  




4                      Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                        Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                         or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                      WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?




    Bankruptcy	
  is	
  a	
               BASIC BANKRUPTCY REQUIREMENTS
    legal	
  proceeding	
  in	
           In	
  any	
  bankruptcy	
  you	
  must	
  provide	
  certain	
  
    federal	
  court	
  in	
  which	
     information	
  to	
  the	
  Court,	
  your	
  creditors,	
  and	
  your	
  
    a	
  person	
  with	
  more	
         Trustee	
  (a	
  court	
  appointed	
  attorney	
  that	
  oversees	
  
                                          your	
  case).	
  	
  The	
  typical	
  case	
  requires	
  you	
  to	
  detail:	
  
    debts	
  than	
  they	
  can	
  
                                          	
  
    pay	
  seeks	
  relief	
  from	
  
                                                 1. All	
  of	
  your	
  assets	
  (everything	
  you	
  own);	
  
    those	
  debts.	
  	
  	
  	
                2. All	
  of	
  your	
  liabilities	
  (everyone	
  you	
  owe);	
  
    	
  	
                                       3. Your	
  current	
  and	
  expected	
  future	
  income;	
  
                                                 4. Your	
  current	
  and	
  expected	
  future	
  expenses;	
  
                                                 5. The	
  specific	
  state	
  laws	
  that	
  you	
  are	
  using	
  to	
  
                                                       exempt	
  your	
  assets	
  from	
  your	
  creditors.	
  
                                          	
  
                                          	
  
                                          You	
  must	
  also	
  file	
  certain	
  documents,	
  including:	
  
                                                 1. A	
  statement	
  of	
  your	
  recent	
  financial	
  affairs;	
  
                                                 2. A	
  certificate	
  of	
  credit	
  counseling	
  from	
  an	
  
                                                       approved	
  provider	
  (or	
  a	
  waiver);	
  
                                                 3. Your	
  most	
  recent	
  tax	
  return;	
  
                                                 4. Your	
  most	
  recent	
  60	
  days’	
  worth	
  of	
  pay	
  stubs	
  
                                                       or	
  other	
  proof	
  of	
  income.	
  
                                          	
  
                                          	
  
                                          At	
  some	
  point	
  during	
  your	
  case	
  you	
  will	
  go	
  to	
  what	
  is	
  
                                          called	
  a	
  “Meeting	
  of	
  Creditors,”	
  where	
  your	
  Trustee	
  
                                          and	
  your	
  creditors	
  have	
  the	
  right	
  to	
  ask	
  you	
  questions	
  
                                          about	
  your	
  case.	
  	
  	
  
                                          	
  
                                          For	
  the	
  vast	
  majority	
  of	
  debtors,	
  this	
  is	
  the	
  only	
  time	
  
                                          you	
  will	
  go	
  to	
  “Court,”	
  and	
  few,	
  if	
  any,	
  creditors	
  will	
  
                                          attend.	
  	
  	
  
                                          	
  

5                 Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                   Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                    or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                             WHAT IS A BANKRUPTCY DISCHARGE?




            The	
  bankruptcy	
  
                                                   One	
  of	
  the	
  main	
  reasons	
  why	
  people	
  file	
  bankruptcy	
  is	
  
                                                   to	
  obtain	
  a	
  discharge	
  of	
  their	
  debts.	
  	
  When	
  you	
  
            discharge	
  releases	
  a	
           complete	
  your	
  bankruptcy	
  case,	
  you	
  no	
  longer	
  owe	
  the	
  
            debtor	
  from	
  their	
              debts	
  that	
  were	
  discharged,	
  and	
  the	
  creditors	
  can	
  
            obligation	
  to	
  repay	
            never	
  come	
  after	
  you	
  to	
  collect	
  on	
  those	
  debts	
  ever	
  
                                                   again.	
  
            certain	
  debts,	
  and	
  it	
  
                                                   	
  
            also	
  protects	
  debtors	
  
                                                   Not	
  all	
  of	
  your	
  debts	
  will	
  necessarily	
  be	
  discharged.	
  	
  
            when	
  creditors	
                    Certain	
  types	
  of	
  debts	
  will	
  not	
  be	
  discharged	
  as	
  a	
  
            attempt	
  to	
  collect	
  on	
       matter	
  of	
  law,	
  and	
  other	
  debts	
  may	
  not	
  be	
  discharged	
  
            these	
  debts.	
  	
  	
              because	
  of	
  something	
  you	
  have	
  done	
  or	
  not	
  done.	
  	
  
            	
                                     	
  	
  	
  
                                                   	
  
                                                 COMMON                                        COMMON
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
                                                 DISCHARGEABLE                                 NON-DISCHARGEABLE
	
  
	
                                               DEBTS                                         DEBTS
	
  
	
                                               1.   Credit	
  cards;	
        1. Domestic	
  Support	
  
	
                                               2.   Medical	
  bills;	
            Obligations	
  (child	
  
	
                                               3.   Personal	
  loans;	
           support	
  &	
  alimony);	
  
	
                                               4.   Check	
  advances;	
      2. Student	
  Loans	
  
	
                                               5.   Fees	
  owed	
  to	
           (unless	
  certain	
  
	
                                                    professionals	
  (like	
       circumstances	
  exist);	
  
	
                                                                              3. Debts	
  for	
  money	
  
                                                      attorneys	
  and	
  CPAs);	
  
	
                                               6. Deficiencies	
  for	
            obtained	
  by	
  lying	
  or	
  
                                                      foreclosed	
  homes	
          through	
  deceit	
  (like	
  
                                                      and	
  repossessed	
           fraud,	
  larceny,	
  false	
  
                                                      vehicles.	
                    representations,	
  or	
  
                                                 	
                                  embezzlement);	
  
                                                 	
                             4. Debts	
  arising	
  out	
  of	
  
                                                                                     willful	
  or	
  malicious	
  
                                                                                     injury;	
  
                                                                                5. Debts	
  not	
  listed	
  on	
  
                                                                                     the	
  schedules.	
  
6                                                                               	
  
                          Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                           Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                            or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                    WHAT IS THE AUTOMATIC STAY?




           The	
  automatic	
  stay	
  
                                                   In	
   addition	
   to	
   the	
   bankruptcy	
   discharge,	
   one	
   of	
   the	
  
                                                   other	
  main	
  reasons	
  why	
  people	
  file	
  for	
  bankruptcy	
  is	
  
           is	
  a	
  shield	
  that	
             the	
   automatic	
   stay.	
   	
   The	
   stay	
   goes	
   into	
   effect	
  
           prevents	
  creditors	
                 automatically	
  and	
  immediately	
  upon	
  the	
  filing	
  of	
  your	
  
           from	
  contacting	
  a	
               case.1	
  	
  
           debtor,	
  harassing	
  a	
             	
  
           debtor,	
  or	
  continuing	
           	
  	
  
           their	
  efforts	
  to	
  collect	
     The	
  bankruptcy	
  automatic	
  stay	
  immediately	
  stops	
  
           against	
  a	
  debtor	
  once	
        LAWSUITS,	
  FORECLOSURES,	
  GARNISHMENTS,	
  and	
  all	
  
           they	
  have	
  filed	
  a	
            collection	
  efforts	
  against	
  you	
  and	
  your	
  property.	
  	
  	
  
                                                   	
  
           bankruptcy	
  case.	
  
                                                   	
  
           	
  
	
  	
                                             The	
  automatic	
  stay	
  is	
  not	
  an	
  absolute	
  shield,	
  though.	
  	
  It	
  
                                                   will	
  not	
  stop	
  the	
  commencement	
  or	
  the	
  continuation	
  of	
  
	
                                                 certain	
  civil	
  and	
  criminal	
  actions.	
  	
  
	
  
	
                                                 COMMONLY                                       COMMON ACTIONS
	
                                                 “STAYED” ACTIONS                               THAT WILL CONTINUE
	
  
                                                   1. The	
  beginning	
  or	
                    1.         Criminal	
  actions;	
  
	
                                                    continuing	
  of	
  a	
                     2.         Civil	
  action	
  for	
  
	
                                                    lawsuit	
  or	
  other	
                               dissolution	
  of	
  
	
                                                    judicial	
  proceeding	
                               marriage;	
  
                                                      against	
  you;	
                           3.         Civil	
  action	
  for	
  
	
                                                 2. The	
  enforcement	
  or	
                             establishment	
  or	
  
                                                      execution	
  of	
  a	
                                 modification	
  of	
  a	
  
                                                      judgment	
  against	
                                  domestic	
  support	
  
                                                      you;	
                                                 obligation;	
  
                                                   3. Actions	
  to	
  obtain	
                   4.         Civil	
  actions	
  for	
  
                                                      possession	
  or	
                                     establishment	
  of	
  
                                                      exercise	
  control	
  over	
                          paternity.	
  
                                                      your	
  property;	
  
                                                                                                  	
  
                                                   4. Actions	
  to	
  create,	
  
                                                      perfect,	
  or	
  enforce	
  a	
  
                                                      lien	
  against	
  your	
  
                                                      property;	
  
7                                               	
  
                          Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                           Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                            or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                        WHAT ARE EXEMPTIONS?




       Exemptions	
  are	
  the	
             THE MYTH
                                              	
  
       laws	
  that	
  shield	
  a	
          One	
  of	
  the	
  most	
  common	
  misconceptions	
  about	
  
       debtor’s	
  assets	
  from	
           bankruptcy	
  is	
  that	
  you	
  lose	
  everything	
  you	
  own	
  when	
  
       their	
  creditors	
  and	
            you	
  file.	
  	
  For	
  the	
  vast	
  majority	
  of	
  consumers,	
  this	
  is	
  
       permit	
  debtors	
  to	
              simply	
  not	
  true.	
  	
  In	
  2010,	
  there	
  were	
  1.139	
  million	
  
       retain	
  property	
  after	
          Chapter	
  7	
  bankruptcies,	
  and	
  less	
  than	
  6%	
  of	
  these	
  case	
  
       the	
  conclusion	
  of	
  their	
     resulted	
  in	
  a	
  debtor	
  losing	
  assets.	
  	
  	
  	
  
       bankruptcy.	
  
       	
                                     THE TRUTH
	
  
                          	
                  How	
  is	
  this	
  possible?	
  	
  Well,	
  first	
  off,	
  the	
  purpose	
  of	
  
              	
                              bankruptcy	
  is	
  not	
  to	
  punish	
  you	
  for	
  your	
  past.	
  	
  Second,	
  
              	
                              when	
  you	
  come	
  out	
  of	
  your	
  bankruptcy,	
  you	
  need	
  to	
  
              	
                              retain	
  certain	
  necessities	
  of	
  life	
  in	
  order	
  to	
  make	
  the	
  
              	
                              most	
  of	
  your	
  fresh	
  start.	
  
              	
                              	
  
              	
                              By	
  applying	
  exemptions	
  against	
  your	
  personal	
  
              	
                              property	
  and	
  your	
  home,	
  you	
  shield	
  your	
  assets	
  from	
  
              	
                              your	
  creditors,	
  and	
  you	
  retain	
  them	
  after	
  the	
  
              	
                              conclusion	
  of	
  your	
  bankruptcy.	
  
              	
  
              	
  
              	
                              LIMITATIONS
              	
  
              	
                              There	
  are	
  limitations	
  to	
  how	
  much	
  property	
  you	
  can	
  
              	
                              protect.	
  	
  Any	
  personal	
  property	
  or	
  home	
  equity	
  that	
  is	
  
              	
                              not	
  protectable	
  can	
  potentially	
  be	
  seized	
  for	
  the	
  
              	
                              benefit	
  of	
  creditors.	
  	
  
              	
                              	
  
	
                                            Some	
  common	
  Tennessee	
  exemptions	
  are	
  listed	
  on	
  the	
  
              	
                              next	
  page.	
  	
  	
  
              	
  
              	
  
8                    Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                      Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                       or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                        WHAT ARE EXEMPTIONS?


          	
  
                                                                     	
  
YOUR PERSONAL PROPERTY                                                             	
   YOUR REAL PROPERTY (HOME)
                                                                                   	
  
	
                                                                   	
                 In	
  the	
  state	
  of	
  Tennessee,	
  the	
  amount	
  
Tennessee	
  state	
  law	
  allows	
  you	
  to	
                   	
                 of	
  equity	
  in	
  your	
  home	
  that	
  you	
  can	
  
protect	
  your	
  personal	
  property	
  to	
  a	
                 	
                 exempt	
  depends	
  upon	
  your	
  age,	
  
certain	
  degree.	
  	
  Here	
  are	
  a	
  few	
  of	
  the	
     	
                 whether	
  you	
  are	
  filing	
  with	
  your	
  
most	
  notable	
  exemptions.	
  	
  	
                             	
                 spouse,	
  and	
  whether	
  you	
  have	
  minor	
  
                                                                     	
                 children	
  in	
  your	
  legal	
  custody.	
  	
  
1. $10,000	
  of	
  personal	
  property,	
                          	
                 	
  
     including	
  money	
  and	
  bank	
                             	
                 • If	
  you	
  are	
  any	
  age,	
  with	
  custody	
  
     accounts,	
  household	
  goods	
  and	
                               	
                 of	
  minor	
  children,	
  you	
  can	
  
     furnishings,	
  jewelry,	
  firearms,	
                                	
                 protect	
  $25,000	
  of	
  your	
  home	
  
     sports	
  and	
  hobby	
  equipment,	
                                 	
                 equity	
  if	
  you	
  file	
  by	
  yourself,	
  or	
  
     and	
  motor	
  vehicles	
  to	
  the	
  extent	
                      	
                 $50,000	
  if	
  you	
  file	
  with	
  your	
  
     they	
  are	
  not	
  secured	
  by	
  a	
  lien.	
  	
                	
                 spouse.	
  
     	
  	
                                                                 	
                 	
  
2. $1,900	
  worth	
  of	
  tools	
  of	
  your	
                           	
          • If	
  you	
  are	
  under	
  the	
  age	
  of	
  62,	
  
     trade,	
  including	
  instruments,	
                                  	
                 without	
  custody	
  of	
  minor	
  
     books,	
  and	
  other	
  tools	
  used	
  in	
                        	
                 children,	
  then	
  you	
  can	
  protect	
  
     your	
  profession.	
  	
  	
                                          	
                 $5,000	
  of	
  your	
  home	
  equity	
  if	
  
	
                                                                          	
                 you	
  file	
  by	
  yourself,	
  or	
  $7,500	
  if	
  
3. 100%	
  of	
  Health	
  Savings	
                                        	
                 you	
  file	
  with	
  your	
  spouse.	
  
     Accounts,	
  401ks,	
  IRAs,	
  pensions,	
                            	
                 	
  
     and	
  other	
  qualified	
  retirement	
                              	
          • If	
  you	
  are	
  over	
  the	
  age	
  of	
  62,	
  
     plans.	
                                                                                  without	
  custody	
  of	
  minor	
  
     	
                                                                                        children,	
  then	
  you	
  can	
  protect	
  
4. 100%	
  of	
  Social	
  Security,	
                                                         $12,500	
  of	
  your	
  home	
  equity	
  if	
  
     Disability,	
  and	
  workers’	
                                                          you	
  file	
  by	
  yourself	
  or	
  $20,000	
  
     compensation	
  benefits.	
                                                               (if	
  only	
  one	
  of	
  you	
  is	
  over	
  the	
  age	
  
                                                                                               of	
  62)	
  or	
  $25,000	
  if	
  you	
  file	
  with	
  
                                                                                               your	
  spouse	
  (and	
  both	
  of	
  you	
  are	
  
                                                                                               over	
  the	
  age	
  of	
  62).	
  	
  

9                 Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                   Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                    or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                                 CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY




       Chapter	
  7	
  is	
  called	
                       HOW IT WORKS
                                                            	
  
       Liquidation.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  also	
               •      An	
   appointed	
   Chapter	
   7	
   Trustee	
   liquidates	
   any	
   of	
  
       referred	
  to	
  as	
                                      your	
   non-­‐exempt	
   assets	
   and	
   uses	
   the	
   proceeds	
   to	
  
       “straight”	
  bankruptcy.	
                                 pay	
  your	
  creditors.	
  	
  PLEASE	
  NOTE:	
  Rarely	
  are	
  there	
  
                                                                   any	
   assets	
   to	
   liquidate,	
   as	
   the	
   laws	
   of	
   the	
   state	
   of	
  
                                                                   Tennessee	
   usually	
   allow	
   you	
   to	
   protect	
  most,	
   if	
   not	
  
                                                                   all,	
  of	
  your	
  assets.	
  	
  	
  
                                                            •      You	
  must	
  qualify	
  for	
  7	
  by	
  passing	
  the	
  “Means	
  Test,”	
  
	
                                                                 which	
   compares	
   your	
   average	
   monthly	
   income	
   to	
  
                                	
                                 that	
  of	
  a	
  similarly	
  sized	
  household	
  in	
  Tennessee.	
  	
  
	
  
	
                                                          •      Most	
  Chapter	
  7s	
  last	
  about	
  4	
  months,	
  from	
  the	
  date	
  
	
                                                                 you	
  file	
  until	
  the	
  date	
  you	
  receive	
  your	
  discharge	
  of	
  
	
                                                                 your	
  debts.	
  
                                                            	
  
       WHEN IS CHAPTER 7                                   WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DEBTS?
       PREFERRED?                                          	
  
       	
                                                  •       In	
  most	
  cases,	
  your	
  unsecured	
  debt	
  (e.g.,	
  credit	
  
       •      Most	
  if	
  not	
  all	
  of	
  your	
             cards,	
  medical	
  bills,	
  signature	
  and	
  personal	
  loans,	
  
              debts	
  are	
  unsecured.	
  	
  	
                 vehicle	
  repo	
  or	
  home	
  foreclosure	
  deficiencies)	
  will	
  
                                                                   be	
  discharged.	
  	
  Student	
  Loans	
  will	
  most	
  likely	
  not	
  
       •      You	
  are	
  current	
  on	
  the	
  
                                                                   be	
  discharged,	
  though.	
  
              secured	
  debts	
  you	
  
              want	
  to	
  keep,	
  or	
  you	
           •       Most	
  priority	
  debts	
  like	
  income	
  taxes	
  and	
  domestic	
  
              wish	
  to	
  surrender	
  the	
                     support	
  obligations	
  survive	
  the	
  discharge,	
  meaning	
  
              secured	
  collateral	
                              that	
  you	
  will	
  continue	
  to	
  owe	
  them	
  after	
  you	
  
              back	
  to	
  the	
  creditor.	
                     receive	
  your	
  discharge.	
  	
  	
  
       •      Your	
  assets	
  are	
  fully	
             •       You	
  usually	
  can	
  choose	
  whether	
  and	
  how	
  you	
  want	
  
              protected	
  by	
  state	
                           to	
  keep	
  your	
  secured	
  debts	
  (e.g.,	
  vehicle	
  with	
  a	
  
              exemptions.	
  	
                                    loan,	
  home	
  with	
  a	
  mortgage)	
  	
  
                                                           •       You	
  may	
  choose	
  to	
  surrender	
  a	
  secured	
  asset	
  
                                                                   without	
  owing	
  a	
  deficiency	
  that	
  arises	
  when	
  your	
  
	
                                                                 creditor	
  resells	
  it.	
  	
  
10                                              	
  
                          Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                           Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                            or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                             CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY




        Chapter	
  13	
                                       HOW IT WORKS
                                                              	
  
        bankruptcy	
  is	
  called	
                          •      Chapter	
  13	
  is	
  a	
  3	
  to	
  5	
  year	
  repayment	
  plan	
  that	
  
        Adjustment	
  of	
  Debts	
                                  consolidates	
  your	
  debts	
  into	
  a	
  manageable	
  
        of	
  An	
  Individual	
                                     payment.	
  	
  	
  	
  
        with	
  Regular	
                                     •      You	
  make	
  regular	
  payments	
  to	
  the	
  Chapter	
  13	
  
        Income.	
                                                    Trustee,	
  who	
  in	
  turn	
  sends	
  the	
  money	
  to	
  your	
  
                                                                     creditors	
  according	
  to	
  the	
  plan	
  that	
  you	
  have	
  put	
  
                                                                     together	
  and	
  that	
  the	
  court	
  and	
  creditors	
  confirm.	
  	
  	
  
	
  
                                                              •      The	
  amount	
  of	
  money	
  that	
  you	
  repay	
  your	
  
	
                                                                   creditors	
  is	
  based	
  upon	
  your	
  monthly	
  income	
  and	
  
	
                                                                   expenses,	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  your	
  assets.	
  	
  	
  
	
                                                            	
  
       WHEN IS CHAPTER 13                                     WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DEBTS?
       PREFERRED?                                             	
  
       	
                                                     •      In	
  most	
  cases,	
  you	
  will	
  repay	
  a	
  certain	
  percentage	
  
       •      You	
  are	
  facing	
                                 of	
  your	
  unsecured	
  debt	
  and	
  all	
  of	
  your	
  secured	
  
              foreclosure	
  on	
  your	
                            debts	
  (excluding	
  long-­‐term	
  debts	
  like	
  
              home	
  or	
  repossession	
                           mortgages).	
  	
  When	
  you	
  finish	
  your	
  plan,	
  usually	
  all	
  
              of	
  your	
  car.	
                                   you	
  will	
  owe	
  will	
  be	
  your	
  continuing	
  mortgage.	
  
       •      You	
  have	
  assets	
  that	
                 •      You	
  can	
  potentially	
  lower	
  your	
  interest	
  rate	
  and	
  
              are	
  not	
  protected	
  by	
                        monthly	
  payment	
  on	
  your	
  car	
  and	
  other	
  secured	
  
              state	
  exemptions	
  that	
                          debts	
  
              you	
  do	
  not	
  want	
  to	
                •      Your	
  plan	
  will	
  most	
  likely	
  pay	
  back	
  any	
  IRS	
  tax	
  debt	
  
              lose,	
  like	
  a	
  home	
  with	
                   or	
  domestic	
  support	
  obligations	
  that	
  you	
  owe.	
  	
  	
  
              significant	
  equity	
  or	
  a	
  
                                                              	
  
              vehicle	
  with	
  no	
  lien.	
  
       •      You	
  have	
  significant	
             	
  
              tax	
  debt	
  that	
  you	
  want	
     	
  
              to	
  repay	
  in	
  a	
  finite	
  
              time	
  without	
  further	
             	
  
              penalties	
  and	
  interest.	
          	
  
11                       Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                          Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                           or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                             FORECLOSURE AND REPOSSESSION



                                                            Did	
  you	
  know	
  that	
  you	
  can	
  save	
  your	
  home	
  from	
  
       Foreclosure	
  is	
  a	
                             foreclosure	
  or	
  your	
  car	
  from	
  repossession	
  by	
  filing	
  
       legal	
  process	
  in	
  which	
                    Chapter	
  13	
  bankruptcy?	
  	
  	
  
       a	
  secured	
  lender	
                             	
  
       retakes	
  ownership	
                               It’s	
  true.	
  	
  	
  
       and	
  control	
  of	
  a	
  piece	
  
                                                            	
  
       of	
  real	
  property	
  from	
  
       the	
  borrower.	
                                   In	
  a	
  Chapter	
  13	
  you	
  can	
  put	
  together	
  a	
  plan	
  to	
  keep	
  
                                                            your	
  home,	
  your	
  car,	
  and	
  other	
  collateral	
  that	
  a	
  
                                                            creditor	
  is	
  threatening	
  to	
  take	
  back.	
  	
  	
  
	
  
                                                            	
  
	
  
                                                                   AVOIDING FORECLOSURE
       AVOIDING
                                                                  	
  
       REPOSSESSION                                               Countless	
  people	
  have	
  used	
  Chapter	
  13	
  for	
  just	
  this	
  
	
                                                                purpose.	
  	
  When	
  your	
  mortgage	
  company	
  will	
  not	
  work	
  
If	
  your	
  are	
  behind	
  on	
                               with	
  you	
  as	
  you	
  try	
  to	
  catch	
  up	
  your	
  payments,	
  or	
  
your	
  car	
  payments,	
  and	
                                 when	
  your	
  attempts	
  to	
  modify	
  your	
  mortgage	
  fail,	
  
the	
  lender	
  is	
  threatening	
                              filing	
  a	
  3	
  may	
  be	
  your	
  best	
  option	
  to	
  retain	
  the	
  home	
  
to	
  repossess	
  it,	
  you	
  can	
                            and	
  work	
  out	
  a	
  repayment	
  plan	
  for	
  what	
  you	
  owe	
  on	
  it.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
file	
  Chapter	
  13	
  and	
                                                 	
  
propose	
  to	
  repay	
  the	
                                   Even	
  if	
  your	
  mortgage	
  company	
  has	
  begun	
  the	
  
loan,	
  late	
  fees,	
  etc.	
                                  foreclosure	
  process,	
  you	
  may	
  still	
  have	
  time	
  to	
  file	
  for	
  
through	
  your	
  plan.	
  	
  Once	
                            Chapter	
  13.	
  	
  In	
  most	
  circumstances,	
  the	
  filing	
  of	
  a	
  
the	
  case	
  is	
  filed,	
  the	
                              bankruptcy	
  will	
  invoke	
  the	
  automatic	
  stay,	
  stopping	
  
automatic	
  stay	
  goes	
  into	
                               the	
  foreclosure	
  from	
  happening.	
  	
  So	
  long	
  as	
  you	
  
effect,	
  and	
  the	
  creditor	
                               comply	
  with	
  your	
  plan	
  and	
  meet	
  all	
  your	
  obligations	
  
cannot	
  come	
  pick	
  up	
  your	
                            during	
  your	
  Chapter	
  13,	
  the	
  mortgage	
  company	
  should	
  
vehicle.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
                        not	
  be	
  able	
  to	
  touch	
  your	
  home.	
  
           	
                                                                  	
  
In	
  some	
  situations,	
  you	
                                13	
  deals	
  with	
  your	
  mortgage	
  in	
  2	
  important	
  ways:	
  
may	
  be	
  able	
  to	
  regain	
                               1. It	
  makes	
  the	
  continuing	
  mortgage	
  payment	
  due	
  
possession	
  of	
  a	
  vehicle	
                                      on	
  the	
  house;	
  and	
  
that	
  has	
  been	
  recently	
                                 2. It	
  pays	
  all	
  the	
  arrearages	
  due	
  to	
  the	
  mortgage	
  
repossessed	
  by	
  filing	
                                           company	
  so	
  that	
  you	
  become	
  current	
  by	
  the	
  time	
  
Chapter	
  13.	
                                                        you	
  complete	
  your	
  case.	
  
                                                                  	
  
12                                Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                                             Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                                              or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                             5 GOOD REASONS TO FILE BANKRUPTCY


	
  

           Not	
  sure	
  if	
  filing	
                   1. YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH INCOME TO PAY YOUR
                                                           LIVING EXPENSES AND YOUR DEBTS.
           bankruptcy	
  is	
  for	
  you?	
  	
  	
       	
  
                                                           This	
  is	
  one	
  of	
  the	
  most	
  common	
  reasons	
  to	
  file	
  for	
  
           Here	
  are	
  five	
                           bankruptcy.	
  	
  There	
  is	
  simply	
  not	
  enough	
  money	
  left	
  
           situations	
  in	
  which	
                     over	
  at	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  the	
  month	
  to	
  pay	
  your	
  living	
  
           filing	
  bankruptcy,	
  or	
                   expenses	
  and	
  your	
  bills.	
  	
  	
  You	
  could	
  have	
  had	
  
           at	
  least	
  talking	
  with	
                significant	
  medical	
  illness	
  or	
  injury	
  or	
  loss	
  of	
  
           someone	
  about	
  it,	
                       employment	
  or	
  reduction	
  in	
  pay.	
  	
  	
  
           would	
  be	
  a	
  good	
  idea.	
  	
  	
                 	
  
                                                           Regardless	
  of	
  the	
  reason,	
  you	
  cannot	
  seem	
  to	
  get	
  
                     	
                                    ahead,	
  you	
  feel	
  like	
  all	
  you	
  are	
  doing	
  is	
  spinning	
  your	
  
                                                           wheels,	
  and	
  you	
  cannot	
  see	
  a	
  light	
  at	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  the	
  
	
  
	
                                                         tunnel.	
  	
  You	
  would	
  love	
  to	
  be	
  saving	
  money	
  each	
  
                                                           month,	
  but	
  your	
  minimum	
  payments	
  on	
  your	
  loans	
  
	
  	
  
	
                                                         and	
  credit	
  cards	
  and	
  the	
  like	
  make	
  that	
  impossible.	
  	
  	
  
                                                                       	
  
	
  
	
                                                         Bankruptcy	
  may	
  be	
  a	
  good	
  way	
  for	
  
                     	
                                    you	
  to	
  break	
  the	
  cycle	
  of	
  financial	
  
                     	
  
                     	
                                    distress	
  and	
  start	
  over.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  designed	
  to	
  
                     	
                                    give	
  you	
  a	
  fresh	
  financial	
  start	
  by	
  eliminating	
  most	
  (if	
  
                     	
                                    not	
  all)	
  of	
  your	
  debts	
  while	
  allowing	
  you	
  to	
  keep	
  most	
  
                     	
                                    (if	
  not	
  all)	
  of	
  your	
  possessions.	
  	
  	
  
                     	
                                    	
  
                     	
                                    	
  
                     	
                                    	
  
                     	
  
                     	
  
                     	
  
                     	
  
                     	
  
	
  

13                           Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                              Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                               or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                      5 GOOD REASONS TO FILE BANKRUPTCY



     2. YOUR CREDITORS WILL NOT STOP                                     The	
  filing	
  of	
  a	
  bankruptcy	
  
     HARRASSING YOU OR YOUR WAGES                                        protects	
  you	
  from	
  creditor	
  
     ARE BEING GARNISHED.
                                                                         harassment	
  and	
  wage	
  
     	
  
     If	
  you	
  are	
  behind	
  on	
  a	
  bill,	
  the	
  
                                                                         garnishment.	
  	
  When	
  you	
  file,	
  
                                                                         the	
  automatic	
  stay	
  immediately	
  
     creditor	
  has	
  the	
  right	
  to	
  call	
  you	
  to	
  
                                                                         goes	
  into	
  effect,	
  and	
  your	
  creditors	
  
     collect	
  on	
  that	
  debt.	
  	
  They	
  must	
  
     comply	
  with	
  the	
  provisions	
  of	
  the	
                  are	
  prohibited	
  from	
  continuing	
  to	
  
     Fair	
  Debt	
  Collection	
  Practices	
  Act,	
                   call	
  you	
  to	
  collect,	
  they	
  cannot	
  sue	
  
                                                                         you	
  for	
  your	
  debt,	
  and	
  they	
  must	
  
     which	
  is	
  something	
  you	
  should	
  
                                                                         stop	
  the	
  garnishment	
  on	
  your	
  check.	
  	
  
     definitely	
  read	
  through.	
  	
  You	
  can	
  
     find	
  a	
  copy	
  of	
  the	
  act	
  here:	
  	
  
     	
                                                                  3. YOU HAVE A MOUNTAIN OF DEBT
     http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer                            AND IT WOULD TAKE YOU FOREVER
     /credit/cre27.pdf	
                                                 TO DIG OUT FROM UNDER IT.
     	
  	
                                               	
  
     Some	
  creditors	
  are	
  more	
  aggressive	
     It	
  is	
  possible	
  that,	
  while	
  you	
  have	
  
     than	
  others,	
  and	
  no	
  matter	
  how	
  dire	
  
                                                          money	
  left	
  over	
  at	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  the	
  
     your	
  financial	
  situation,	
  they	
            month	
  to	
  pay	
  your	
  debts,	
  you	
  simply	
  
     demand	
  more	
  of	
  you	
  than	
  you	
  can	
  have	
  such	
  a	
  large	
  amount	
  of	
  debt	
  that	
  
     offer.	
  	
  They	
  want	
  a	
  payment	
  sooner	
  
                                                          it	
  would	
  take	
  you	
  years	
  and	
  years	
  to	
  
     than	
  you	
  can	
  provide	
  or	
  they	
  want	
  
                                                          come	
  out	
  from	
  underneath	
  it	
  all.	
  	
  
     more	
  money	
  than	
  you	
  can	
  afford	
  to	
  
                                                          	
  
     pay.	
  	
  They	
  will	
  not	
  listen	
  to	
  reason	
  
                                                          	
  
     and	
  they	
  call	
  at	
  all	
  times	
  of	
  the	
  day	
  
                                                          No	
  doubt	
  there	
  is	
  incredible	
  value	
  in	
  
     and	
  into	
  the	
  evening,	
  demanding	
        working	
  a	
  debt	
  repayment	
  plan	
  and	
  
     payment.	
  	
  Or	
  perhaps	
  they	
  have	
      seeing	
  it	
  through	
  to	
  the	
  end.	
  	
  On	
  the	
  
     already	
  sued	
  you	
  and	
  gotten	
  a	
       other	
  hand,	
  if	
  you	
  feel	
  that	
  you	
  have	
  
     judgment.	
  	
  Now	
  your	
  paycheck	
  is	
     learned	
  from	
  your	
  past	
  and	
  know	
  
     being	
  garnished,	
  and	
  you	
  are	
           how	
  to	
  better	
  prepare	
  for	
  the	
  future,	
  
     struggling	
  even	
  more	
  to	
  make	
  ends	
   or	
  if	
  you	
  want	
  to	
  get	
  out	
  from	
  
     meet.	
  	
  	
                                      underneath	
  your	
  debts	
  sooner	
  rather	
  
     	
                                                   than	
  later,	
  then	
  bankruptcy	
  may	
  be	
  a	
  
                                                          good	
  choice	
  for	
  you.	
  
                                                          	
  
14        	
      Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                   Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                    or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                     5 GOOD REASONS TO FILE BANKRUPTCY



     4. YOUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE                                         	
     5. YOU HAVE A MORTGAGE ON AND
                                                                       	
  
     SUFFERING BECAUSE OF YOUR                                                POSSESSION OF A HOME THAT YOU
     STRUGGLES WITH DEBT.                                                     NO LONGER WANT OR CANNOT
     	
                                                                       AFFORD.
     Money	
  problems	
  can	
  devastate	
                                  	
  
     relationships.	
  	
  The	
  most	
  solid	
                             Many	
  people	
  file	
  bankruptcies	
  to	
  
     marriage	
  or	
  family	
  can	
  be	
  torn	
  apart	
                 retain	
  a	
  home	
  that	
  is	
  in	
  foreclosure,	
  
     over	
  issues	
  of	
  money.	
  	
  The	
  most	
  mild-­‐             but	
  what	
  can	
  you	
  do	
  when	
  you	
  do	
  not	
  
     mannered	
  and	
  gentile	
  man	
  or	
  woman	
                       want	
  to	
  keep	
  your	
  house	
  anymore?	
  	
  
     can	
  become	
  an	
  absolute	
  jerk	
  when	
                        Maybe	
  you	
  are	
  having	
  a	
  hard	
  time	
  
     finances	
  are	
  too	
  tight.	
  	
  	
                               selling	
  it,	
  or	
  you	
  owe	
  more	
  on	
  the	
  
     	
                                                                       house	
  than	
  it	
  is	
  worth.	
  	
  Or	
  you	
  got	
  
     When	
  your	
  situation	
  has	
  become	
                             divorced	
  and	
  your	
  ex	
  stuck	
  you	
  with	
  
     dire,	
  and	
  you	
  can	
  feel	
  your	
  important	
                the	
  mortgage	
  note.	
  
     relationships	
  unraveling,	
  it	
  may	
  be	
                                  	
  
     time	
  to	
  take	
  some	
  drastic	
  action.	
  	
  You	
            In	
  most	
  bankruptcies,	
  you	
  can	
  
     may	
  have	
  never	
  thought	
  that	
  you	
                         surrender	
  the	
  home	
  back	
  to	
  the	
  
     would	
  be	
  one	
  of	
  “those	
  people”	
  that	
                  mortgage	
  company	
  and	
  not	
  owe	
  on	
  
     file	
  bankruptcy.	
  	
  	
                                            the	
  mortgage	
  once	
  you	
  get	
  your	
  
     	
                                                                       discharge.	
  	
  The	
  mortgage	
  company	
  
     There	
  is	
  no	
  shame	
  in	
                                       will	
  eventually	
  remove	
  the	
  property	
  
                                                                              from	
  your	
  name,	
  either	
  by	
  
     filing	
  bankruptcy.	
  	
  You	
                                       foreclosure	
  or	
  a	
  deed-­‐in-­‐lieu	
  of	
  
     are	
  not	
  a	
  bad	
  person	
  for	
                                foreclosure	
  or	
  something	
  similar.	
  	
  
     filing.	
  	
  You	
  can	
  take	
  responsibility	
                    You	
  will	
  still	
  be	
  liable	
  for	
  any	
  
     for	
  your	
  financial	
  situation	
  instead	
  of	
                 homeowner’s	
  association	
  fees	
  that	
  
     letting	
  it	
  get	
  worse	
  and	
  hurting	
  you	
                 you	
  have	
  with	
  the	
  property	
  until	
  the	
  
     and	
  your	
  family	
  even	
  more.	
                                 mortgage	
  company	
  obtains	
  
                                                                              possession.	
  	
  	
  
                                                                              	
  




15               Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                  Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                   or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
              5 GOOD REASONS NOT TO FILE BANKRUPTCY



1. MOST OF YOUR DEBTS ARE NON-
DISCHARGEABLE, SO BANKRUPTCY
                                                                          	
  Where	
  a	
  large	
  portion	
  of	
  
DOES NOT HELP YOU.                                                        your	
  debt	
  will	
  not	
  going	
  
	
                                                                        to	
  be	
  discharged,	
  then	
  
Bankruptcy	
  is	
  a	
  great	
  tool	
  to	
  
eliminate	
  debt,	
  and	
  it	
  can	
  wipe	
  out	
  
                                                                          filing	
  for	
  bankruptcy	
  
most	
  debts,	
  but	
  there	
  are	
  certain	
                        may	
  not	
  be	
  your	
  wisest	
  
debts	
  that	
  your	
  bankruptcy	
  cannot	
                           course	
  of	
  action.	
  	
  	
  
eliminate.	
  	
  If	
  a	
  large	
  portion	
  of	
  your	
  
debts	
  is	
  not	
  going	
  to	
  be	
  discharged	
  in	
  
bankruptcy,	
  then	
  you	
  should	
  strongly	
  
consider	
  whether	
  filing	
  bankruptcy	
  
makes	
  sense.	
  	
  	
  
             	
  
For	
  instance,	
  suppose	
  you	
  want	
  to	
  file	
               	
  What	
  does	
  this	
  all	
  mean?	
  	
  You	
  get	
  rid	
  
Chapter	
  7	
  to	
  get	
  rid	
  of	
  some	
  credit	
               of	
  some	
  debt,	
  you	
  still	
  owe	
  on	
  the	
  
card	
  debt	
  but	
  you	
  also	
  owe	
  a	
  lot	
  of	
            nondischargeable	
  debts,	
  and	
  you	
  
student	
  loan	
  debt.	
  	
  In	
  this	
  situation,	
               need	
  a	
  smart	
  repayment	
  plan	
  to	
  
filing	
  for	
  Chapter	
  7	
  bankruptcy	
  will	
                    address	
  those	
  debts.	
  	
  You	
  would	
  have	
  
likely	
  not	
  do	
  a	
  lot	
  for	
  you.	
  	
  Sure,	
  you	
     to	
  do	
  that	
  even	
  if	
  you	
  do	
  not	
  file	
  
got	
  rid	
  of	
  some	
  credit	
  card	
  debt,	
  but	
             bankruptcy,	
  so	
  what	
  do	
  you	
  really	
  
your	
  student	
  loans	
  will	
  most	
  likely	
                     gain	
  by	
  filing?	
  	
  	
  
not	
  be	
  discharged	
  in	
  your	
                                                	
  
bankruptcy.	
  	
  The	
  same	
  is	
  true	
  with	
                   It	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  know	
  which	
  of	
  your	
  
most	
  taxes,	
  child	
  support	
  and	
                              debts	
  will	
  be	
  discharged,	
  and	
  which	
  
alimony,	
  and	
  other	
  nondischargeable	
                           will	
  not,	
  so	
  that	
  you	
  can	
  properly	
  
debts	
  (for	
  more	
  about	
                                         evaluate	
  bankruptcy	
  as	
  a	
  possible	
  
nondischargeable	
  debts,	
  please	
  read	
                           debt	
  elimination	
  tool.	
  	
  	
  
through	
  page	
  6	
  of	
  this	
  guide).	
                          	
  
	
                                                                       	
  
	
                                                                       	
  




16                  Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                     Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                      or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                  5 GOOD REASONS NOT TO FILE BANKRUPTCY


	
  
	
     2. YOU HAVE THE FINANCIAL MEANS                                     Unless	
  you	
  gain	
  
       TO GET OUT OF DEBT YOURSELF, AND
                                                                           something	
  extra	
  by	
  filing	
  
       BANKRUPTCY DOES NOTHING
       SPECIAL FOR YOU.                                                    the	
  bankruptcy,	
  then	
  it	
  
       	
                                                                  may	
  not	
  be	
  your	
  best	
  
       Your	
  situation	
  may	
  not	
  be	
  as	
  dire	
  as	
         option.	
  	
  That	
  something	
  extra	
  for	
  
       you	
  think.	
  You	
  may	
  be	
  able	
  to	
  pay	
  
                                                                           you	
  may	
  mean	
  the	
  ability	
  to	
  can	
  catch	
  
       them	
  off	
  yourself	
  without	
  filing	
  for	
  
                                                                           up	
  your	
  mortgage	
  payments	
  over	
  
       bankruptcy.	
  
                                                                           time,	
  surrender	
  your	
  home	
  without	
  
       	
  
                                                                           penalty,	
  or	
  pay	
  off	
  your	
  student	
  loans	
  
       Your	
  income	
  and	
  your	
  expenses	
  drive	
  
                                                                           or	
  tax	
  debt	
  in	
  a	
  finite	
  time.	
  	
  	
  
       your	
  debt	
  repayment	
  options.	
  	
  If	
  you	
  
       make	
  significantly	
  more	
  per	
  month	
  
       than	
  you	
  spend,	
  then	
  you	
  should	
                    3. YOUR EMPLOYMENT DEPENDS
       strongly	
  consider	
  setting	
  up	
  debt	
                     UPON YOUR CREDIT SCORE.
       repayment	
  plans	
  with	
  your	
  individual	
    	
  
       creditors.	
  	
  	
                                  Several	
  professions,	
  especially	
  those	
  
       	
                                                    that	
  require	
  major	
  financial	
  
                                                             responsibilities,	
  place	
  a	
  large	
  value	
  
       If	
  you	
  make	
  a	
  lot	
  of	
  money,	
  and	
  you	
  
                                                             upon	
  credit	
  score.	
  	
  
       do	
  decide	
  to	
  file	
  a	
  bankruptcy,	
  then	
  
                                                             	
  
       you	
  may	
  be	
  required	
  to	
  repay	
  all	
  or	
  a	
  
                                                             Filing	
  for	
  bankruptcy	
  will	
  have	
  a	
  
       large	
  part	
  of	
  your	
  debt	
  back	
  to	
  the	
  
                                                             negative	
  impact	
  your	
  credit	
  score.	
  	
  
       creditors.	
  	
  In	
  so	
  doing,	
  you	
  have	
  
                                                             But	
  the	
  bankruptcy	
  may	
  only	
  have	
  a	
  
       forfeited	
  the	
  ability	
  to	
  try	
  to	
  negotiate	
  
                                                             relatively	
  small	
  impact	
  on	
  your	
  score	
  
       the	
  balances	
  on	
  the	
  debts,	
  and	
  you	
  
       have	
  paid	
  your	
  attorney	
  and	
  your	
     because	
  of	
  the	
  history	
  of	
  late	
  
       Trustee	
  to	
  oversee	
  your	
  case.	
           payments,	
  large	
  debts,	
  and	
  other	
  
       	
                                                    financial	
  issues	
  that	
  drove	
  you	
  to	
  file	
  
       	
                                                    for	
  bankruptcy	
  in	
  the	
  first	
  place.	
  	
  	
  	
  
       	
                                                    	
  
                                                             Current	
  and	
  future	
  employers	
  cannot	
  
                                                             discriminate	
  against	
  you	
  because	
  you	
  
                                                             filed.	
  
                                                             	
  
17              Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                 Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                  or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
            5 GOOD REASONS NOT TO FILE BANKRUPTCY


                                                                      	
  
4. YOU HAVE ASSETS THAT YOU DO                                               5. EVEN WITH A DISCHARGE, YOU DO
NOT WANT TO LOSE.                                                            NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONTHLY
	
                                                                           INCOME TO MEET YOUR MONTHLY
If	
  you	
  have	
  more	
  equity	
  in	
  your	
  home	
                  EXPENSES.
or	
  belongings	
  than	
  you	
  can	
  protect	
  by	
   	
  
law,	
  then	
  you	
  run	
  the	
  risk	
  of	
  losing	
  
                                                            Bankruptcy	
  is	
  designed	
  to	
  be	
  a	
  
that	
  asset	
  if	
  you	
  file	
  for	
  Chapter	
  7.	
  	
  
                                                            springboard	
  to	
  a	
  new	
  life.	
  	
  It	
  should	
  
The	
  Trustee	
  would	
  see	
  if	
  taking	
  the	
     help	
  you	
  not	
  only	
  in	
  the	
  short	
  term,	
  
asset	
  makes	
  money	
  for	
  your	
                    but	
  the	
  long	
  term	
  as	
  well.	
  	
  Ideally,	
  
creditors,	
  and	
  if	
  so,	
  then	
  the	
  Trustee	
  without	
  the	
  burden	
  of	
  your	
  debts,	
  you	
  
will	
  require	
  you	
  to	
  turn	
  it	
  over.	
  	
  	
  
                                                            can	
  save,	
  make	
  your	
  income	
  work	
  for	
  
             	
                                             you,	
  and	
  plan	
  for	
  your	
  future.	
  	
  The	
  
You	
  have	
  2	
  options	
  in	
  this	
  situation:	
  	
  	
  
                                                            last	
  thing	
  you	
  want	
  to	
  do	
  is	
  to	
  file	
  a	
  
	
                                                          bankruptcy	
  where	
  you	
  have	
  no	
  hope	
  
1. File	
  Chapter	
  13	
  bankruptcy,	
  and	
            of	
  a	
  better	
  life	
  upon	
  its	
  completion.	
  	
  
       repay	
  your	
  creditors	
  the	
  value	
  of	
                             	
  
       the	
  asset,	
  which	
  could	
  require	
         As	
  an	
  example,	
  if	
  you	
  have	
  monthly	
  
       you	
  to	
  repay	
  most	
  or	
  all	
  of	
  your	
  
                                                            income	
  of	
  $2,000,	
  but	
  your	
  monthly	
  
       unsecured	
  debt.	
                                 expenses	
  alone	
  are	
  $2,500,	
  then	
  filing	
  
       	
                                                   for	
  bankruptcy	
  does	
  not	
  help	
  you	
  in	
  
2. Sell	
  the	
  asset	
  yourself	
  and	
                the	
  long	
  run.	
  	
  Bankruptcy	
  provides	
  
       negotiate	
  with	
  your	
  creditors	
             you	
  some	
  relief	
  by	
  eliminating	
  some	
  
       with	
  the	
  proceeds	
  outside	
  of	
           debt,	
  but	
  you	
  will	
  be	
  right	
  back	
  where	
  
       bankruptcy.	
  	
  	
                                you	
  started	
  in	
  a	
  matter	
  of	
  months	
  
	
                                                          because	
  your	
  income	
  is	
  greater	
  than	
  
	
                                                          your	
  expenses.	
  	
  	
  	
  
	
                                                          	
  
	
                                                          If	
  you	
  do	
  not	
  have	
  the	
  means	
  to	
  move	
  
	
                                                          on	
  with	
  your	
  life	
  after	
  bankruptcy,	
  
                                                            then	
  it	
  may	
  not	
  be	
  the	
  right	
  time	
  to	
  
                                                            file.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
                                                            	
  
                                                            	
  
18                 Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                                                            	
  
                    Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                                            	
  
                                     or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                 3 ALTERNATIVES TO FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY


	
  
  	
  
       1. DO NOTHING.                                                     3. NEGOTIATE YOUR DEBTS.
       	
                                                                 	
  
       This	
  is	
  always	
  a	
  choice.	
  	
  You	
  can	
           Debt	
  negotiation	
  is	
  a	
  method	
  of	
  debt	
  
       ignore	
  the	
  collection	
  notices,	
  not	
                   reduction	
  in	
  which	
  you	
  and	
  your	
  
       answer	
  the	
  creditors’	
  calls,	
  and	
  avoid	
            creditors	
  agree	
  to	
  a	
  settlement	
  of	
  
       the	
  certified	
  letters	
  waiting	
  for	
  you	
  at	
       your	
  debt	
  for	
  less	
  than	
  what	
  you	
  
       the	
  Post	
  Office.	
  	
  You	
  can	
  bury	
  your	
         owe.	
  	
  
       head	
  in	
  the	
  sand	
  and	
  pray	
  that	
  your	
         	
  
       creditors	
  give	
  up,	
  quit	
  calling,	
  or	
               The	
  goal	
  of	
  debt	
  negotiation	
  is	
  to	
  
       forget	
  where	
  you	
  live.	
                                  eliminate	
  your	
  debt	
  in	
  the	
  manner	
  
       	
                                                                 that	
  makes	
  the	
  most	
  financial	
  sense	
  
       But	
  you	
  do	
  not	
  get	
  out	
  of	
  debt	
  by	
        for	
  you.	
  	
  That	
  could	
  mean	
  payments	
  
       avoiding	
  it.	
  	
  You	
  get	
  out	
  of	
  debt	
  by	
     over	
  time,	
  a	
  lump-­‐sum	
  payment,	
  or	
  
       being	
  proactive,	
  getting	
  help,	
  and	
                   some	
  combination	
  of	
  both.	
  
       having	
  a	
  plan.	
                                             	
  
                                                                          You	
  can	
  negotiate	
  your	
  debts	
  
       2. PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS IN FULL.                                     yourself,	
  or	
  you	
  can	
  hire	
  a	
  third	
  
       	
                                                                 party	
  like	
  an	
  attorney	
  or	
  debt	
  
       This	
  is	
  exactly	
  what	
  it	
  sounds	
  like.	
  	
       management	
  group	
  to	
  help	
  you.	
  	
  
       You	
  have	
  debt	
  and	
  you	
  repay	
  it	
  all.	
  	
  
       You	
  pay	
  at	
  least	
  your	
  minimum	
  
       payments	
  every	
  month,	
  you	
  sell	
  
       things	
  to	
  raise	
  extra	
  money	
  to	
  make	
  
       larger	
  payments,	
  and	
  you	
  attack	
  the	
  
       debt.	
  	
  
       	
  
       Paying	
  off	
  debts	
  in	
  full	
  works	
  well	
  
       when	
  you	
  adhere	
  a	
  solid	
  budget	
  a	
  
       debt	
  snowball	
  plan.	
  	
  You	
  can	
  find	
  
       more	
  information	
  online	
  on	
  these	
  
       topics.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  


19                       Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                          Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                           or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                        5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                        PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY


                                                         At	
  some	
  point	
  in	
  your	
  journey	
  to	
  get	
  out	
  of	
  debt,	
  you	
  
       How	
  do	
  you	
  choose	
                      may	
  decide	
  to	
  speak	
  with	
  a	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney	
  for	
  a	
  
       your	
  bankruptcy	
                              variety	
  of	
  reasons.	
  	
  A	
  lot	
  of	
  people	
  go	
  just	
  to	
  learn	
  more	
  
       attorney?	
  Start	
  with	
                      about	
  how	
  bankruptcy	
  works,	
  while	
  others	
  meet	
  with	
  
       these	
  5	
  questions.	
  	
                    an	
  attorney	
  for	
  the	
  specific	
  goal	
  of	
  filing.	
  	
  	
  
                                                         	
  

THE 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK:                                  Regardless	
  of	
  your	
  reason,	
  you	
  want	
  to	
  make	
  a	
  wise	
  
	
                                                       decision	
  when	
  you	
  choose	
  a	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney	
  to	
  
1.         What	
  is	
  your	
  background	
            represent	
  you.	
  	
  You	
  are	
  going	
  to	
  pay	
  money	
  to	
  this	
  
           in	
  bankruptcy?	
                           person	
  to	
  perform	
  a	
  service	
  for	
  you,	
  and	
  you	
  deserve	
  
           	
                                            to	
  have	
  the	
  service	
  performed	
  properly	
  and	
  timely.	
  	
  	
  
2.         How	
  does	
  bankruptcy	
                   	
  
           compare	
  with	
  my	
  other	
              In	
  the	
  care	
  of	
  an	
  experienced,	
  competent	
  bankruptcy	
  
           options	
  for	
  getting	
  out	
  of	
      attorney,	
  you	
  should	
  know	
  what	
  to	
  expect	
  from	
  the	
  
           debt?	
  
                                                         start	
  of	
  your	
  case,	
  whether	
  there	
  are	
  any	
  potential	
  
	
  
3.         How	
  much	
  does	
  it	
  cost	
  to	
  
                                                         pitfalls	
  or	
  complications	
  and	
  what	
  can	
  be	
  done	
  about	
  
           file	
  Chapter	
  7	
  or	
  13?	
           them,	
  and	
  how	
  the	
  case	
  should	
  conclude.	
  	
  The	
  
	
                                                       presence	
  and	
  counsel	
  of	
  a	
  seasoned	
  professional	
  can	
  
4.         How	
  much	
  will	
  I	
  see	
  and	
      help	
  make	
  the	
  bankruptcy	
  process	
  fell	
  a	
  little	
  less	
  
           talk	
  to	
  you	
  personally	
             nerve-­‐racking.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
           during	
  my	
  case?	
                       	
  
	
                                                       To	
  help	
  you	
  in	
  choosing	
  a	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney,	
  here	
  
5.         How	
  does	
  your	
  practice	
             are	
  5	
  questions	
  to	
  ask	
  during	
  your	
  initial	
  consultation.	
  	
  
           differ	
  from	
  your	
                      The	
  attorney	
  will	
  ask	
  you	
  numerous	
  questions	
  to	
  get	
  a	
  
           competition?	
                                better	
  understanding	
  of	
  your	
  situation	
  and	
  what	
  can	
  
                 	
                                      be	
  done	
  about	
  it.	
  	
  In	
  turn,	
  you	
  should	
  ask	
  the	
  attorney	
  
	
                                                       some	
  questions	
  to	
  get	
  a	
  better	
  feel	
  for	
  their	
  ability	
  to	
  
	
                                                       adequately	
  represent	
  you.	
  	
  
	
                                                       	
  
	
             	
                                        	
  




20                      Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                         Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                          or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                   5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                   PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY


1. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN                                        2. HOW MUCH WILL I SEE/TALK TO
BANKRUPTCY?
                                                                     YOU PERSONALLY DURING MY CASE?
	
                                                                   	
  
This	
  question	
  gets	
  at	
  the	
  attorney’s	
                It	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  know	
  early	
  in	
  the	
  
competence	
  to	
  handle	
  your	
  case.	
  	
                    bankruptcy	
  filing	
  process	
  what	
  you	
  
Bankruptcy	
  is	
  a	
  highly	
  specialized	
                     should	
  expect	
  from	
  your	
  attorney.	
  	
  
area	
  of	
  law	
  that	
  requires	
  attention	
  to	
           Given	
  the	
  nature	
  of	
  the	
  practice,	
  many	
  
detail	
  and	
  strategic	
  planning.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  not	
     attorneys	
  have	
  paralegals	
  and	
  other	
  
something	
  that	
  an	
  attorney	
  can	
  just	
                 support	
  staff	
  to	
  handle	
  most	
  of	
  the	
  
do	
  on	
  the	
  side	
  as	
  part	
  of	
  their	
               meetings	
  and	
  communications	
  with	
  
practice.	
  	
  	
                                                  clients,	
  while	
  the	
  attorney	
  attends	
  
             	
                                                      court,	
  negotiates	
  with	
  other	
  parties,	
  
To	
  that	
  end,	
  be	
  sure	
  you	
  know	
  by	
  the	
       and	
  oversees	
  the	
  more	
  complicated	
  
end	
  of	
  your	
  meeting	
  with	
  an	
  attorney:	
            matters	
  of	
  the	
  cases.	
  	
  	
  
A. How	
  long	
  this	
  attorney	
  has	
                                        	
  
      practiced	
  bankruptcy;	
  	
                                 With	
  other,	
  smaller	
  firms,	
  the	
  
B. What	
  percentage	
  of	
  the	
                                 attorney	
  and	
  maybe	
  one	
  assistant	
  
      attorney’s	
  practice	
  is	
                                 likely	
  handle	
  all	
  matters	
  from	
  
      bankruptcy;	
                                                  answering	
  the	
  phones	
  to	
  meeting	
  all	
  
C. What	
  percentage	
  of	
  the	
                                 the	
  clients	
  to	
  preparing	
  all	
  the	
  
      attorney’s	
  cases	
  are	
  debtor	
  or	
                   bankruptcy	
  forms.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
      consumer,	
  and	
  what	
  percentage	
                       	
  
      are	
  business	
  cases;	
                                    So	
  decide	
  early	
  what	
  you	
  want	
  from	
  
D. What	
  the	
  attorney	
  does	
  to	
  stay	
                   your	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney,	
  and	
  
      current	
  on	
  developments	
  in	
  the	
                   choose	
  accordingly.	
  	
  	
  
      law.	
  	
  	
  	
                                             	
  
	
                                                                   	
  
	
                                                                   	
  
	
  




21                Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                   Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                    or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                     5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                     PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY


	
                                                                    	
  
 3. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FILE                                            As	
  part	
  of	
  your	
  agreement,	
  the	
  
 CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13?                                                    attorney	
  may	
  charge	
  further	
  fees	
  if	
  
 	
                                                                          any	
  unexpected	
  complications	
  arise	
  
 Obviously	
  one	
  of	
  the	
  main	
  concerns	
                         or	
  if	
  additional	
  services	
  are	
  required.	
  	
  	
  
 when	
  you	
  look	
  to	
  file	
  bankruptcy	
  is	
                     	
  
 the	
  cost.	
  	
  Bankruptcy	
  attorneys	
                               The	
  attorney’s	
  fees	
  for	
  Chapter	
  7	
  are	
  
 usually	
  do	
  not	
  charge	
  hourly	
  rates,	
                        typically	
  much	
  less	
  than	
  for	
  Chapter	
  
 instead	
  charging	
  a	
  flat	
  fee	
  for	
  their	
                   13,	
  although	
  the	
  attorney	
  usually	
  
 services.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
                                         requires	
  most	
  if	
  not	
  all	
  of	
  their	
  fees	
  
 	
                                                                          paid	
  up	
  front	
  before	
  the	
  filing	
  of	
  the	
  
 As	
  you	
  consider	
  filing	
  bankruptcy	
                             case.	
  	
  	
  
 with	
  a	
  particular	
  attorney,	
  you	
  should	
                     	
  
 know	
  the	
  following:	
                                                 In	
  Chapter	
  13,	
  most	
  of	
  the	
  time	
  the	
  
 	
                                                                          attorney	
  will	
  elect	
  to	
  receive	
  a	
  court-­‐
 1. The	
  base	
  fee	
  for	
  representation;	
  	
                       awarded	
  fee	
  that	
  is	
  based	
  entirely	
  
 2. The	
  services	
  covered	
  under	
  this	
                            upon	
  the	
  debt	
  in	
  your	
  case.	
  	
  Many	
  
       base	
  fee;	
                                                        firms	
  require	
  little	
  or	
  no	
  up	
  front	
  fees	
  
 3. The	
  services	
  not	
  covered	
  under	
                             to	
  file	
  13,	
  with	
  the	
  remaining	
  portion	
  
       the	
  base	
  fee;	
  and	
  	
                                      of	
  the	
  fee	
  paid	
  through	
  your	
  plan.	
  	
  So	
  
 4. The	
  cost	
  for	
  the	
  non-­‐base	
  fee	
                         every	
  time	
  you	
  make	
  a	
  Chapter	
  13	
  
       services.	
  	
  	
                                                   payment,	
  a	
  portion	
  of	
  that	
  goes	
  to	
  
       	
                                                                    your	
  attorney.	
  	
  	
  
 For	
  Chapter	
  7,	
  most	
  attorneys	
                                 	
  
 charge	
  a	
  base,	
  flat	
  fee	
  to	
  prepare,	
  file,	
            	
  
 and	
  see	
  a	
  Chapter	
  7	
  through	
                                	
  
 completion.	
  	
  The	
  price	
  may	
  vary	
                            	
  
 depending	
  upon	
  whether	
  you	
  file	
  
 individually,	
  with	
  your	
  spouse,	
  or	
  for	
  
 your	
  business.	
  	
  
 	
  
 	
  


22                  Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                     Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                      or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                     5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                     PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY



     4. HOW DOES BANKRUPTCY                                              Unfortunately,	
  there	
  are	
  many	
  
     COMPARE WITH MY OTHER OPTIONS                                       attorneys	
  out	
  there	
  that	
  care	
  more	
  
     FOR GETTING OUT OF DEBT?                                            about	
  their	
  best	
  interests	
  than	
  yours.	
  	
  
     	
                                                                  As	
  you	
  speak	
  with	
  an	
  attorney	
  about	
  
     Any	
  good	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney	
  will	
                     bankruptcy,	
  be	
  careful	
  of	
  those	
  that:	
  
     help	
  you	
  to	
  evaluate	
  all	
  of	
  your	
                          	
  
     options	
  for	
  getting	
  out	
  of	
  debt,	
  even	
  if	
     A. Pressure	
  you	
  into	
  filing	
  when	
  
     that	
  means	
  you	
  do	
  not	
  file.	
  	
  They	
                  you	
  only	
  wanted	
  to	
  gather	
  
     should	
  analyze	
  your	
  income	
  and	
                              information	
  or	
  ask	
  questions;	
  	
  
     expenses,	
  review	
  your	
  assets	
  and	
                      B. Hastily	
  tell	
  you	
  that	
  you	
  have	
  no	
  
     liabilities,	
  and	
  discuss	
  with	
  you	
  why	
                    other	
  option	
  but	
  to	
  file;	
  
     bankruptcy	
  does	
  or	
  does	
  not	
  make	
  
                                                                         C. Do	
  not	
  or	
  cannot	
  explain	
  why	
  
     sense	
  for	
  your	
  situation.	
  
     	
                                                                        filing	
  makes	
  the	
  most	
  sense	
  for	
  
                                                                               you;	
  
     When	
  you	
  are	
  evaluating	
  
                                                                         D. Do	
  not	
  or	
  cannot	
  explain	
  the	
  
     bankruptcy	
  as	
  an	
  option,	
                                       consequences	
  of	
  filing;	
  or	
  
     here’s	
  what	
  your	
                                            E. Disregard	
  or	
  belittle	
  your	
  other	
  
     attorney	
  should	
  explain	
                                           debt	
  resolution	
  options.	
  	
  	
  	
  
     to	
  you,	
  and	
  what	
  you	
  
     need	
  to	
  understand	
  
     before	
  you	
  decide	
  to	
  file:	
  
             	
  
     A.   How	
  bankruptcy	
  could	
  help	
  you	
  
          and/or	
  hurt	
  you;	
  
     B.   Which	
  of	
  your	
  debts	
  will	
  be	
  
          discharged	
  and	
  which	
  will	
  not;	
  
     C.   The	
  process	
  for	
  filing	
  and	
  
          completing	
  your	
  particular	
  case;	
  
     D.   Any	
  potential	
  challenges	
  in	
  your	
  
          case.	
  	
  	
  

23               Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                  Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                   or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                       5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                       PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY


         	
  
     5. HOW DOES YOUR PRACTICE DIFFER 	
                                       What	
  are	
  some	
  good	
  responses	
  to	
  this	
  
                                      	
                                       question?	
  
     FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
                                                                        	
     	
  
     	
                                                                 	
  
     This	
  is	
  a	
  great	
  question	
  because	
  it	
                   A. “I	
  strive	
  to	
  provide	
  the	
  highest	
  
                                                                        	
  
     allows	
  the	
  attorney	
  to	
  talk	
  about	
  what	
         	
          quality	
  service	
  to	
  my	
  clients.”	
  	
  
     makes	
  them	
  special	
  and	
  unique.	
  	
  	
               	
     B. “I	
  treat	
  my	
  clients	
  the	
  way	
  I	
  
     	
                                                                 	
          would	
  want	
  to	
  be	
  treated	
  in	
  the	
  
     The	
  attorney	
  can	
  talk	
                                   	
          same	
  situation.”	
  
     about	
  what	
  they	
  value,	
                                  	
     C. “I	
  personally	
  answer	
  phone	
  calls,	
  
                                                                        	
  
     how	
  they	
  practice	
  law,	
                                  	
  
                                                                                    meet	
  with	
  my	
  clients,	
  and	
  work	
  
                                                                                    every	
  aspect	
  of	
  your	
  case	
  from	
  
     and	
  you	
  learn	
  more	
                                      	
  
                                                                        	
          start	
  to	
  finish.”	
  	
  
     about	
  them	
  as	
  a	
  person,	
                              	
     D. “I	
  educate	
  my	
  clients	
  on	
  their	
  
     not	
  just	
  as	
  your	
  potential	
                           	
          options	
  so	
  that	
  they	
  can	
  make	
  the	
  
     representative.	
  	
                                                          best,	
  most	
  well-­‐informed	
  decision	
  
     	
                                                                             possible.”	
  
     You	
  can	
  hear	
  in	
  the	
  attorney’s	
  voice	
  if	
            E. “I	
  am	
  extremely	
  flexible	
  in	
  
     they	
  are	
  excited	
  about	
  or	
  proud	
  of	
                         working	
  with	
  my	
  clients,	
  meeting	
  
     their	
  practice.	
  What	
  you	
  can	
  gain	
  
                                                                                    them	
  when	
  their	
  work	
  schedule	
  
     during	
  this	
  conversation	
  is	
  invaluable.	
  	
  	
  
     	
                                                                             provides,	
  even	
  if	
  that	
  means	
  after	
  
                                                                                    hours	
  or	
  on	
  weekends.”	
  
                                                                               F. “I	
  do	
  my	
  best	
  to	
  answer	
  emails,	
  
                                                                                    phone	
  calls,	
  and	
  other	
  inquiries	
  
                                                                                    within	
  twenty	
  four	
  hours.”	
  	
  
                                                                               	
  




24              Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                 Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                  or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.
                                             ABOUT THE AUTHOR



      	
  
                                                    GORDON BOUTWELL is	
  a	
  bankruptcy	
  and	
  consumer	
  
                                                protection	
  attorney	
  in	
  Franklin,	
  Tennessee.	
  	
  He	
  has	
  
                                                practiced	
  law	
  since	
  2006,	
  with	
  most	
  of	
  that	
  time	
  
                                                dedicated	
  to	
  bankruptcy,	
  personal	
  finance,	
  and	
  
                                                consumer	
  advocacy.	
  	
  	
  
                                                	
  
                                                Over	
  the	
  years	
  he	
  has	
  helped	
  hundreds	
  of	
  individuals,	
  
                                                couples,	
  and	
  families	
  with	
  their	
  financial	
  problems.	
  	
  He	
  
                                                believes	
  in	
  treating	
  other	
  people	
  the	
  way	
  he	
  would	
  
                                                want	
  to	
  be	
  treated	
  in	
  the	
  same	
  situation.	
  	
  He	
  takes	
  the	
  
                                                time	
  to	
  get	
  to	
  know	
  his	
  clients,	
  and	
  he	
  educates	
  them	
  
                                                on	
  their	
  options	
  for	
  getting	
  out	
  of	
  debt,	
  helping	
  them	
  to	
  
                                                understand	
  and	
  evaluate	
  them.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
                                                	
  
                                                He	
  believes	
  bankruptcy	
  is	
  a	
  worthwhile	
  tool	
  to	
  help	
  
                                                some	
  (but	
  not	
  all)	
  people	
  get	
  out	
  of	
  debt,	
  and,	
  when	
  
                                                combined	
  with	
  financial	
  education	
  and	
  counseling,	
  can	
  
                                                be	
  a	
  springboard	
  to	
  financial	
  independence.	
  	
  	
  
     Gordon	
  H.	
  Boutwell,	
  Atty	
        	
  
     Lodestone	
  Legal	
  Group	
              In	
  March	
  2011,	
  Gordon	
  and	
  R.	
  Keith	
  Gordon	
  formed	
  
     198	
  E.	
  Main	
  St.,	
  Ste.	
  4	
   the	
  Lodestone	
  Legal	
  Group	
  in	
  Franklin	
  Tennessee,	
  
     Franklin,	
  TN	
  37064	
                 with	
  the	
  purpose	
  of	
  assisting	
  business	
  and	
  private	
  
     615-­‐807-­‐1064	
                         clients	
  by	
  exploring	
  legal	
  options,	
  navigating	
  the	
  legal	
  
     gboutwell@llgtn.com	
                      pitfalls,	
  and	
  providing	
  measurable	
  results	
  through	
  
     www.llgtn.com	
  
     	
  
                                                custom	
  solutions	
  and	
  a	
  commitment	
  to	
  the	
  lost	
  art	
  of	
  
                                                personal	
  care	
  and	
  client	
  service.	
  
                                                	
  
                                                Lodestone	
  Legal	
  Group	
  practices	
  in	
  the	
  areas	
  of	
  
                                                bankruptcy,	
  debt	
  negotiation	
  and	
  settlement,	
  financial	
  
                                                counseling,	
  residential	
  and	
  commercial	
  real	
  estate,	
  
                                                estate	
  planning	
  (wills	
  and	
  trusts),	
  and	
  small	
  business	
  
                                                and	
  corporate	
  law.	
  	
  	
  
                                                	
  
                                                	
  
                                                	
  
25                                              	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
               Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                 Feel free to email me at gboutwell@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                  or visit my website at www.llgtn.com.

				
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Description: Free Guide for Consumers Contemplating Bankruptcy as a Tool for Getting Out of Debt