If you are struggling with debt, an Iowa bankruptcy attorney can help you get a fresh start. These lawyers can help you avoid foreclosure, stop wage garnishment, and discharge medical bills and credit card debt. They can also help you recover defaulted student loans.
Bankruptcy is a complicated process that involves several steps. A qualified lawyer can guide you through the entire process and make sure that all your forms are filled out correctly.
The bankruptcy process offers debtors the ability to stop foreclosures, creditor harassment, wage garnishments and more. It also gives people the opportunity to wipe out most unsecured debts and to sell non-exempt property to pay creditors. Generally, individuals can choose between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is a straight liquidation, while Chapter 13 allows individuals with regular income to create a plan to repay debt over a period of years. Before filing for either, a person must complete pre-bankruptcy credit counseling from an approved agency.
The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer can vary depending on where you live in Iowa. Jeff charges a fixed Chapter 7 attorney fee that is based on the complexity of your case. He can provide a quote after collecting some basic information from you. He charges less than many attorneys in the area because he focuses solely on bankruptcy and uses technology to add efficiency. It is important to work with an experienced local lawyer to ensure your legal rights are protected.
If you pass the Iowa bankruptcy means test (assuming that your debts are consumer debts) and your current monthly household income is below the Iowa median for your household size then most or all of your personal property will be exempt from being sold by the trustee assigned to your case. This is thanks to Iowa’s unique bankruptcy exemptions.
The state’s homestead exemption protects an unlimited amount of equity in your primary residence, though it is limited to one-half acre within city limits and 40 acres outside the city. You can also exempt burial property up to a maximum of one acre; prescribed health aids; security deposits and prepaid rent; certain insurance benefits; fraternal benefit society benefits; alimony, maintenance or support to the extent necessary for support; wages earned within 60 days of filing; and a wildcard exemption for any other personal property.
Married couples can double their exemptions. In addition to the above, you can claim an unlimited art exemption and a firearms exemption for one shotgun and one rifle or musket.
Meeting of Creditors
After you file your bankruptcy petition and complete all the required forms, your trustee will schedule a meeting of creditors. During this hearing, also known as a 341 meeting, creditors have the opportunity to ask questions about your filing. Most meetings only involve one creditor or their counsel and end within 10 to 15 minutes.
Your trustee will review your paperwork and verify your identity before the meeting. Then, he will ask several questions and you must answer under oath. These questions are designed to ensure that you accurately depict your financial status and have not committed bankruptcy fraud. The trustee will also establish whether you have any non-exempt property that he can sell to pay creditors.
Many Iowa residents seek relief from their debts through bankruptcy. The process is complex and can have serious financial and legal consequences for a person or family, so it’s important to find a reputable attorney. A good Iowa bankruptcy lawyer will help their clients understand the process and its impact on their credit.
A bankruptcy filing can stop foreclosure, repossession of a vehicle, and garnishment of wages. It can also eliminate medical bills and discharge credit card debt. It can also help you avoid reaffirmation agreements with creditors for secured property such as your home or motor vehicle.
Iowa has two bankruptcy districts, the Northern District and the Southern District. Each has slightly different requirements. For example, the Northern District requires a mailing matrix that lists all your creditors’ names and addresses. It also has specific guidelines for filing exemptions. The Southern District has a similar checklist and requires local forms for filing. You can find the forms at the U.S. Courts website, and you can use a service like Upsolve to file without an attorney.