When you are finding it difficult to pay your bills, and debt continues to stack up, it may be time to consider filing for bankruptcy. Most cases of bankruptcy happen because people find themselves stuck in a situation that caught them off-guard, like the sudden loss of a job or an illness that led to extensive medical bills.
When people with debt problems reach the conclusion it’s time to file for bankruptcy, many find it hard to justify the expense of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Even though bankruptcy services are generally quite affordable, taking on any new expense can feel like a mistake.
On Dec. 3, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge ruled that the City of Detroit can file for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy. That makes Detroit the nation’s largest municipality to file for bankruptcy, greatly eclipsing others on the list, including three California municipalities. Orange County, Stockton and San Bernardino County came in at third, fourth and fifth, respectively, with the largest involving debt levels only a ninth the size of Detroit’s.
Earl Simmons, the rapper known as DMX, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in July, but he’s not getting much relief -- and it’s not the first time. The performer tried filing for bankruptcy in 2009, but that case was dismissed by the bankruptcy court after it found DMX had “unreasonably delayed” the case to the detriment of his creditors.
If a job loss, medical bills or unexpected expenses have got your scrambling to pay your bills, you may have wondered whether it’s a good idea to liquidate your 401(k) account in order to pay them off. Before you take that step, which can subject you to substantial taxes and fees and throw your retirement plans into disarray, you should know that 401(k) accounts are exempt from collections if you file personal bankruptcy.
A Chapter 7, 11 or 13 Debtor may avoid a judicial lien recorded against their real property that impairs the exemption on the property. There is no statute of limitations on filing a motion to avoid this judicial lien. Thus in at least one case the lien was removed after the bankruptcy case had already closed.