Financial troubles can put people in dire situations where they can lose everything that they have. Protecting your assets against financial difficulties is therefore a reasonable step to take. If you need local expertise about filing for bankruptcy in the Kansas City area or in Missouri in general, our attorneys have the experience and expertise to review your case.
If we enter into a representation agreement, we will conduct your representation in a timely and professional manner. Our firm consists, in part, of attorneys who are bankruptcy professionals and who largely focus on the bankruptcy practice. We can help to ease the entire bankruptcy process without placing more of the burden on you.
It is not difficult to file for bankruptcy in Kansas City or in Missouri. There are different steps involved based on the chapter of bankruptcy you’re filing for. Either you’re filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you need to do the following:
- Engage in credit counseling before filing
- Fill out the bankruptcy petition and other necessary forms
- File the petition in a Kansas bankruptcy court
- Submit financial documents
- Attend a 341 meeting of creditors
- Take a debtor counseling course prior to your discharge
- Complete a debt repayment plan ( if you file for Chapter 13)
Clients may be able to convert their case from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 under the right circumstances. This can happen if they no longer desire to keep the homes or other assets they would have protected by filing Chapter 13 and meet additional requirements. Reasons for switching could be because of high mortgage payment, job loss or divorce.
PRE-BANKRUPTCY CREDIT COUNSELLING
You may only file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Kansas City or anywhere else when you have showed that you received credit counseling from a credit counseling agency approved by the U.S. Trustee six months prior to your bankruptcy filing. You’re also required to take a debtor education course prior to your bankruptcy discharge.
A credit counseling service can help you to work out your financial problems and avoid bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy lawyer can recommend an approved and reputable credit counseling firm to you. You can participate in the counseling by phone, on the computer or from home.
MISSOURI BANKRUPTCY EXEMPTIONS
An exemption is a legal tool that people filing from bankruptcy use to keep the bankruptcy from taking certain assets such as personal items, and in some cases, even a car or a home. Missouri is an “opt out” state. It means that you cannot use federal bankruptcy exemptions in Missouri, only Missouri exemptions. However, you can protect assets like death benefits, federal retirement benefits and veterans’ benefits with the suitable federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. If you are uncertain whether a particular exemption applies to your situation, consult with a local bankruptcy attorney.
Common Missouri Exemptions
Here are some of the most popular exemptions provided by the Missouri state law (as of January 2017). All references in the stipulated exemptions are drawn from the Missouri Revised Statutes (Mo. Rev. Stat.), except otherwise stated.
Married Couples Missouri Exemptions
In Missouri, married couples who file a joint bankruptcy can double most exemption amounts. For instance, if jointly-filing spouses both own a car, the motor vehicle exemption can be doubled to protect the car’s value. This does not apply to homestead exemption.
Homestead or Residential Property
This exemption protects your home equity. You can exempt about $15,000 of equity of the home where you currently live or will live, or about $5,000 of equity in a mobile home where you live. There are several clauses about homestead exemptions, consult your attorney for details.
About $750 per month in alimony, support or maintenance.
About $150,000 of cash surrender value, life insurance dividends, loan or and interest, if it was purchased over six months prior to bankruptcy filing. Other benefits include disability benefits, illness benefits and unmatured life insurance policy.
Missouri bankruptcy exemptions can protect about $3,000 of equity in a motor vehicle. For instance, if you own a vehicle worth $12,000 and you owe the dealer $10,000, it leaves $2,000 of equity. You can file for bankruptcy and use the $3,000 motor vehicle exemption obtained to fully protect the vehicle.
You can obtain about $3,000 of value in clothing, furniture, crops, books, animals, appliances, and instruments. You can get $100 on burial grounds up to one acre or $100 and about $214.190 on health aids.
Other bankruptcy exemptions include the following:
- Wrongful death awards to the extent reasonably necessary for support
- Health savings accounts
- Life Insurance Benefits
- Teachers’ and school employee retirement benefits
- ERISA-qualified benefits necessary for support (limited to payments being received)
- Firefighters’ retirement benefits
- Police and highway patrol retirement benefits
- Public officers and employees’ retirement benefits
- State employees’ retirement benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Unemployment compensation
- Social Security benefits and public assistance
- Tools of the Trade
Note that the Missouri bankruptcy exemption amounts are adjusted occasionally.
CONTACT A KANSAS CITY BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
A lot of people wonder, “What’s the reasoning behind hiring a lawyer when I’m going bankrupt?” The reality is that bankruptcy filing is for people who have something to lose. If you are going bankrupt and still want some of your assets protected, then hiring a competent bankruptcy attorney is the most fundamental step to take. If you have income and personal possessions, bankruptcy can help to protect them from your financial troubles.
The attorneys at KC Defense Counsel are adept at considering the peculiar situation of each outcome to generate the most favorable outcome and will help you defend your assets using the tools available under the applicable bankruptcy laws. From determining whether to file and the right protection to seek, to repairing credit after the bankruptcy case is concluded, right up to challenging debt collectors for harassment, our bankruptcy attorneys help to set people on the path of recovery from financial difficulties.
Here are further questions that they answer:
- What do I need to kick start the bankruptcy process?
- How much does a bankruptcy cost?
- How long does it take?
- When will a bankruptcy get off my record?
- How can I prevent a foreclosure of my business and home?
- When can I obtain relief from creditor harassment?
- Can bankruptcy discharge my student loan debt?
- How many people will know about my bankruptcy proceedings?
- Can I obtain credit after filing personal bankruptcy?
- What kind of help will a bankruptcy attorney provide?
OTHER BANKRUPTCY PRACTICE AREAS