“B” in the Bankruptcy Alphabet is for “Business Bankruptcy” for Individuals Trying to Trying to Retain a Valuable Car

 in the Bankruptcy Alphabet is for “Business Bankruptcy” for Individuals

By Christopher C. Carr, Esq., Chester County Bankruptcy Lawyer

The US Supreme Court has held that individual debtors may file under the provisions of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.  This can be very valuable for persons owning high value cars in certain circumstances.

In contrast to a typical consumer bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or 13 however, Chapter 11 is generally designed for business reorganization bankruptcies. Chapter 11 cases tend to be complicated, as well as confusing and expensive for the debtor and the rules are generally less appropriate and less favorable for the consumer.  For example, unlike a Chapter 13 case, a Chapter 11 case may not be dismissed or converted to a Chapter 7 case as a matter of right by the debtor and creditors must generally vote on the plan.

It is advisable for a careful review to be performed by a bankruptcy attorney to ensure that a Chapter 11 is necessary as in the vast majority of cases a Chapter 11 will not be the correct choice for an individual.

But there is at least one very important circumstance under which an individual might choose an 11, one which may actually be very advantageous in the case of high cost rapidly depreciating automobiles.  A debtor who seeks to cram down (reduce the debt to the present day fair market value of the collateral) a lien on an automobile will be limited by the 910 day rule. If the vehicle was purchased less than 910 days before filing the bankruptcy petition then the debtor cannot cram down the lien in a Chapter 13 plan. However, under Chapter 11, no such time requirement exists. Hence if the vehicle is worth less than the loan a motion to determine secured status may be in order. The bankruptcy court can then value the vehicle and the debtor can pay off the vehicle in the Chapter 11 plan.  But unless the vehicle was  highly valuable when purchased the high cost even of a typical Chapter 13 case will outweigh the benefit of the cram down.

Let’s take a look at the economics from the client’s point of view. The minimum cost to the client of a simple Chapter 11 is $10,000 plus $1,039 filing fee as compared to approximately $3,000-3,500 for a 13 plus $274 filing fee.  It is well known that that most luxury automobiles lose approximately 15% per year in the early years of ownership (when the 910 day rule would prohibit a cram down in a 13) whereas the debtor may have paid only interest and no principal so far on the auto loan. At the 2 year mark a luxury car that sold for $80,000 might now be worth $66,000 but the debtor might still owe close to $80,000 assuming payments are up to date.  Under this example, all else being equal, the debtor might well want to elect to do a Chapter 11 so as to be able to cram the car down to its blue book value and save a maximum $16,700 after net fees and costs are deducted.  But now let’s say that the same hypothetical debtor owned a less prestigious vehicle with a purchase price of say $20,000.  If after 2 years of ownership, if it could be crammed down to $14,000, the net cost of a Chapter 11 would be greater than the $6,000 savings generated. This individual, if possible under the circumstances, might want to wait out the full 910 days and declare a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are additional factors which may favor a Chapter 11 which are beyond the scope of this article. Again, a thorough review of the matter is strongly advised however.

Law Offices of Christopher C. Carr, MBA,  P.C., is a quality bankruptcy and debt relief practice, located in  Valley Township, west of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where Attorney Christopher Carr, a Chester County bankruptcy attorney, who has over 30 years if diversified ;egal experience, concentrates on serving the residents of and businesses located within Western Chester County and Eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, including the communities in and around Atglen, Bird in Hand, Caln, Christiana, Coatesville, Downingtown, Eagle, Exton, Fallowfield Gap, Honeybrook, Lancaster, Lincoln University, Modena, New Holland, Parkesburg, Paradise, Ronks, Sadsbury, Thorndale, Valley Township, Wagontown & West Chester,  Pennsylvania. If you reside or do business in the area and need assistance with a legal issue, please call Mr. Carr at (610)380-7969 or write him at cccarresq@aol.com today!  

Other attorneys playing the bankruptcy alphabet game (more “B” topics from consumer lawyers around the country):

Bad Faith Filing    Miami Bankruptcy Attorney, Dorota Trzeciecka

Bank Account    New York Bankruptcy Lawyer, Jay S. Fleischman

Bank Account   Daniel J. Winter, Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney

Bank Account Levy   Philadelphia Bankruptcy Lawyer, Raymond Kempinski

Bank Tips    Wisconsin Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bret Nason

Bankruptcy     Taylor Michigan Bankruptcy Lawyer, Christopher McAvoy

Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act Livonia Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney, Peter Behrmann

Bankruptcy Estate  Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney, Mitchell Goldstein

Bankruptcy Mill   Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney, Kyle A. Lindsey

Bankruptcy Petition Preparers    Colorado Springs Bankruptcy Attorney Bob Doig

Bankruptcy Petition Preparers    Los Angeles Bankruptcy Law Monitor, Christine Wilton

Bankruptcy Timeline    Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney Shawn N. Wright

Bar Date    Ormond Beach Bankruptcy Attorney, Lewis Roberts

Benefits of Chapter 13    Vermont-New Hampshire Bankruptcy Lawyer, Michelle Kainen

Best Efforts Test    St. Louis, Missouri Bankruptcy Attorney, Nancy Martin

Best Interest of Creditors    Honolulu Bankruptcy Attorney, Stuart Ing

Beware of these Credit Card Offers    Marin County Bankruptcy and Consumer Attorney, Catherine Eranthe Bifurcate    Tuscaloosa and Birmingham Bankruptcy Lawyer, Melinda Murphy Dionne

Borrow    San Francisco Bankruptcy Attorney, Jeena Cho

Budget    Columbus, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney, Athena Inemboildis

Budget     Birmingham Bankruptcy Attorney, Elizabeth Johnson

Budget     Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorneys, Collum & Perry

Business    Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska Bankruptcy Attorney, Ryan D. Caldwell

Business   Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer, Cathy Moran

Business & Individuals    Philadelphia Suburban Bankruptcy Lawyer, Chris Carr

Business bankruptcy    Los Angeles Bankruptcy Blog, Mark J. Markus

Businesses and Business Debt   Newnan Georgia Bankruptcy Lawyer, Rick Palmer

Buy Low and Sell High   Cleveland Area Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bill Balena

Bad Credit    Houston Bankruptcy Attorneys, Busby & Associates

©Christopher C. Carr, Attorney at Law 2011, All Rights Reserved

Law Offices of Christopher C. Carr, MBA,  P.C., is a quality Chester County Bankruptcy Practice, located in  Valley Township, west of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where Attorney Carr, who has over 30 years if diversified experience as an attorney, concentrates his practice on serving the residents of and businesses located within Western Chester County and Eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, including the communities in and around Atglen, Bird in Hand, Caln, Christiana, Coatesville, Downingtown, Eagle, Exton, Fallowfield Gap, Honeybrook, Lancaster, Lincoln University, Modena, New Holland, Parkesburg, Paradise, Ronks, Sadsbury, Thorndale, Valley Township, Wagontown & West Chester,  Pennsylvania. If you reside or do business in the area and need assistance with a legal issue, please call Mr. Carr at (610)380-7969 or write him at cccarresq@aol.com today!

I also provide Mortgage Modification Services.

I also provide Debt Settlement; IRS Tax Settlement & Mortgage Mod Services NATIONALLY.

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Filing Bankruptcy: Pros and Cons

 

Christopher C Carr, Bankruptcy Guest Contributor

By Christopher C. Carr, Esq., Chester County Bankruptcy Lawyer

Tel: 610-380-7969 Email: cccarresq@aol.com Web: carrlaw.org

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Christopher C. Carr , Esq., MBA explains the types of bankruptcy and weighs the pros and cons of filing bankruptcy.

In these troubled economic times many people are having difficulties paying their bills and may be wondering whether a bankruptcy will help them. To examine the various strategies available to avoid bankruptcy, we must first understand what bankruptcy is and what it can and cannot do. The United States Bankruptcy Code offers several types of debt relief. The United States Bankruptcy Code offers two primary paths for consumers:

  • A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: In a so called “straight” bankruptcy, the Trustee in bankruptcy seeks to liquidate the debtor’s non exempt property and distribute the proceeds to the creditors in order of priority, in exchange for discharge of all of the debtor’s eligible debt. (Exemptions for various property classifications are set out in federal and state law.) However, certain debts such as guaranteed student loans and domestic support obligations are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Most 7’s are “no asset” bankruptcies.

Certain higher income debtors who do not meet the new Means Test must instead file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

  • A Chapter 13 “debtor in possession” Bankruptcy: Here, unlike in Chapter 7 proceedings, the debtor retains possession of the assets (hence its nickname). In order to be confirmed by the court, the debtor must prove sufficient income to support a 3-5 year plan wherein payments on secured debt such as mortgages and auto loans (including arrears) and non-dischargeable items continue and unsecured creditors typically get paid a small portion of their debts. For debtors facing mortgage foreclosure, Chapter 13 may be the only choice to halt the process while seeking other remedies within or outside of bankruptcy such as a Home Affordable mortgage modification is obtained. However, recent statistics indicate that only about 35% of all 13 plans are ever completed.

There are overall limits as to how much unsecured and/or secured debt a debtor may have and still utilize Chapter 7 or 13. If either is exceeded then the debtor will have but one alternative if they wish to file for bankruptcy:

  • Chapter 11, a third type of Bankruptcy, is primarily used to help in debt businesses restructure. An example is the bankruptcy from which GM has successfully emerged with the help of a massive US bailout. It is much more complex, time consuming and expensive than Chapter 7 or 13, but is the sole resort for individual debtors with debt which exceeds the limits mentioned above.

Other Advantages to Bankruptcy: The overall goal of every bankruptcy case is to give the debtor a “fresh start.” The “automatic stay” in bankruptcy will apply once your case is filed. This generally halts all collection activities, foreclosures, repossessions, Sherriff’s sales, etc. while in effect.

Disadvantages to Bankruptcy:

  • Many people wish to avoid bankruptcy because of the social stigma perceived to be associated with “going bankrupt” even though it is perfectly legal and in fact is guaranteed by the US Constitution.
  • Bankruptcy remains on the debtor’s credit for up to 7 (Chapter 17) or 10 years (Chapter 13) from filing and may interfere with efforts to obtain credit, purchase or refinance a home or even obtain employment. However, it should be noted that most who seek this relief already have impaired credit and, more importantly, in reality new credit is generally extended to debtors who keep their payments current for a year or two following discharge. So, in effect bankruptcy can work to “repair” credit where nothing else can.

A real life example would be where the debtor has amassed so much debt that they cannot qualify for a mortgage.  Their debt to income ratio is just too high. At tins point there is little reason to hold off from filing as the likelihood of obtaining credit resources at competitive rates are almost nil. However, once the debt is cleared by a discharge in bankruptcy this ratio can return to normal or better and given sufficient time and a good post petition payment profile, the debtor will once again be an attractive loan candidate.

Homeowners, who have racked up large arrears in their mortgage payments which have to be repaid in full over the 3-5 year plan period in a chapter 13 , may find the payments too high to afford causing the bankruptcy ultimately to be discharged or converted, perhaps thus only delaying the ultimate loss of their home in contrast to a Home Affordable (HAMP) mortgage modification where as the name implies ideally a long term affordable solution is reached.

  • Not all types of debt are dischargable in bankruptcy, a good example being guaranteed student loans.
  • While perhaps not strictly speaking a disadvantage,  there is a substantial waiting period once a bankruptcy has been discharged…the debtor has to wait to file if they wish to again obtain a discharge from new debt, the timeframes varying with the type of bankruptcy initially undegone. For this reason, bankruptcy should be considered strategically.  When its gone, its gone, at least for a good long time!

The key point is that each debtor’s situation is unique and deserves special consideration. Further, because the process is hardly ever as smooth as it is supposed to be because of the complexities and pitfalls involved, it is advisable to consult a competent and compassionate attorney who has experience in bankruptcies and/or in negotiating modifications to guide you through the process and help you properly complete the paperwork.


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©Christopher C. Carr, Attorney at Law 2009, 2016, All Rights Reserved

Christopher C. Carr, Esq. is a  Chester County Bankruptcy Attorney owner of Law Offices of Christopher C. Carr, MBA,  P.C., a quality Bankruptcy & Debt Relief Practice, located in  Valley Township, west of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where Attorney Carr, who has over 30 years of diversified experience as an attorney, concentrates his practice on serving the residents of and businesses located within Western Chester, Southern Berks and Eastern Lancaster Counties in South Eastern Pennsylvania, including the communities in and around Atglen, Bird in Hand, Caln, Christiana, Coatesville, Downingtown, Eagle, Exton, Fallowfield Gap, Honeybrook, Lancaster, Lincoln University, Modena, New Holland, Parkesburg, Paradise, Ronks, Reading, Sadsbury, Sinking Spring, Thorndale, Valley Township, Wagontown, West Chester, West Lawn, & Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Carr also has experience in many other areas of the law. If you reside or do business in the area and need assistance with a legal issue, please call Mr. Carr at (610)380-7969 or write him at cccarresq@aol.com today!

I also provide Mortgage Mod  and Debt Settlement Services.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not your bankruptcy lawyer, and nothing within this site creates that relationship.  Bankruptcy law requires that for me to be your lawyer, you and I must have a written contract.  So, unless we both agree in writing, you are not my client. Therefore, nothing written herein is to be relied upon as legal advice such as I might give to a client.

I am a debt relief agency. I help people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.