Bankruptcy For Unsecured Debt
If you are considering bankruptcy solely for unsecured debt, you will still have to pass The Means Test in bankruptcy. Typically, if the debt you wish to discharge in bankruptcy is unsecured, our goal will be to qualify you for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Whether your bankruptcy filing contains secured debt or is a bankruptcy for unsecured debt only, the process is very much the same. Lastly, you’re not alone– between 2005 and 2017, over 12 million individuals filed bankruptcy. Of those, over 8 million were Chapter 7.
Types Of Unsecured Debt
There are numerous types of unsecured debt which will be included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Below is a list of the primary categories:
Credit Card Debt – Most credit card debt is unsecured
Line Of Credit – Most lines of credit are unsecured, though some banks use your checking and savings accounts as security for these debts. Your credit agreement will govern this.
Store Cards – Store card debt (Belk, Best Buy, Gap, etc.) is unsecured; however, the store can claim a security interest in the items you purchased. Most stores will not attempt this, but an example would be purchasing a large ticket item at Best Buy. The store may claim a security interest in the television or other electronics you purchased. This is not usually an obstacle in bankruptcy.
Pay Day Loans – Pay day loans are unsecured.
IRS Tax Debt – The IRS may have a lien related to your tax debt. In most cases they do not. IRS debt is typically treated as priority debt for bankruptcy. This means it survives the bankruptcy for unsecured debt. However, if your IRS debt meets the requirements for being treated as unsecured debt, we may be able to discharge the IRS debt with your bankruptcy filing.
State Tax Debt – The same is true of state tax debt.
Can I Use Credit Cards Before I File Bankruptcy?
If you use your credit cards within 90 days of filing bankruptcy, there is a presumption of abuse. This means that the court will presume you knew you were going to file bankruptcy and continued to use the cards without the intention to pay back the debt. As a result, any charges placed on the cards within 90 days of filing bankruptcy will survive the bankruptcy. While this will generally not interfere with your bankruptcy filing, it will mean you carry a balance after the bankruptcy.
It is best to wait 91 days from the last purchase on a card, before filing bankruptcy. After the 91st day, the presumption shifts in your favor. This means that your creditors would have the burden of proving you knew you were going to file bankruptcy and continued to use the card(s) leading up to bankruptcy. They would also have to prove you had no intention of paying back the debt. This burden is time consuming and expensive for the creditor, and they usually lose the argument. For this reason, debt which is 91 days old or older at the time of filing your bankruptcy will typically be included in the discharge.
How Long Does Filing A Bankruptcy For Unsecured Debt Take?
We have previously written about the time frame for a Chapter 7 from start to finish, and you can read that post: How Long Does Bankruptcy Take? Generally, our firm is ready to file when you are. For most clients, the ability to pay for the bankruptcy is what poses a delay in filing. Supposing you are ready to file bankruptcy and ready to pay for your bankruptcy, our firm can typically prepare your bankruptcy within two weeks.
Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
If you have questions about filing a bankruptcy for unsecured debt, call us today to get started. The phone call is free and part of our job is answering questions. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will call you back today. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.