Bankruptcy Attorney in Waco & Killeen
If you are struggling under the weight of your bills and crushing debt, you are not alone. The good news: bankruptcy attorney Erin B. Shank can help you get rid of your debt and move on to a better, brighter future.
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Texas, put a skilled bankruptcy lawyer in your corner. For nearly 40 years, Texas bankruptcy lawyer Erin B. Shank has found financial solutions for people just like you. With a law practice focused entirely on bankruptcy for the past four decades, Erin can manage the bankruptcy process for you from start to finish.
Erin is dedicated to making your experience as safe as possible. You will never have to leave the comfort, safety, and convenience of your own home. Erin offers a free initial virtual consultation, touch-free document collection, a Zoom signing appointment with Erin personally as every page of your bankruptcy paperwork is reviewed with you, electronic signature gathering, and your court appearance by phone. This is safe and convenient, especially while we are living through the Covid 19 Global Pandemic.
Erin B. Shank is committed to helping people just like you get out of debt and build a stronger financial foundation. If you are struggling with bills and considering bankruptcy, contact Erin today. Call her Waco or Killeen office or reach out to her today through her online form.
How Our Waco and Killeen Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help
If you are considering bankruptcy in the Waco or Killeen area, it is crucial to know how a lawyer can help. Attorney Erin B. Shank can assist you by:
- Listening to you. Financial problems can be overwhelming. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, Erin and her team of experienced paralegals will listen to you, review the facts of your situation, and help you take the next step toward a fresh financial start.
- Providing options. In bankruptcy, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Many different types of bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options are available for many different fact situations. Some options allow you to meet your financial goals without filing bankruptcy. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, Erin can review your options and advise you on your best course of action. If you have been told that Chapter 13 is your only option, which is a five year wage and income tax refund garnishment, please contact us for a free virtual initial consultation to discuss your options.
- Bankruptcy filings. If you need to file for bankruptcy, you will have to fill out complex and detailed forms. A small error can result in serious consequences, including a delay, embarrassment, or an outright dismissal of your bankruptcy case. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, Erin can handle the paperwork and court appearances and court requirements and make sure your case is completed correctly and you receive your discharge on time.
- Advocating for you. During a bankruptcy case you may have to deal with creditors who claim you owe them money. In her role as a bankruptcy lawyer, Erin handles all those discussions so that you do not have to endure that stress. Erin will also stand up for your rights during your bankruptcy court hearings. Erin prepares your case for signing and appears with you personally during your Court appearance. She does not hire appearance counsel to appear for her in any of her cases.
Types of Bankruptcy
Before you file for bankruptcy, it is helpful to understand the many types of bankruptcy that are available:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcies. This is the simplest and quickest type of bankruptcy relief available under American law. The vast, vast majority of the cases filed by Erin B. Shank are Chapter 7 filings. Due to the strong exemption laws under both State and Federal law, most Debtors are entitled to retain all their property as exempt. The entire case, from filing to discharge, lasts approximately three months with only one meeting with a Trustee, who is not a judge. In Chapter 7 cases, your wages are not garnished, and you are entitled to retain your income tax refunds.
- Chapter 11 bankruptcies. These are usually used by very large businesses that need to reorganize their debt. Chapter 11 plans are proposed to the creditors for a vote. Chapter 11 bankruptcies are intended to be used by very large Debtors with complicated debt structures.
- Chapter 12 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy is designed to assist commercial farmers and fishermen to reorganize their debts.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcies. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are actually in an active bankruptcy case for three to five years. Your wages are garnished for your monthly payment and your income tax refunds are required to be paid to your creditors. Erin B. Shank therefore uses Chapter 13 extremely rarely and only as a last resort. If someone has told you that Chapter 13 is your only option to address your debt concerns, please call us for a free, virtual initial appointment to discuss other options that are available to you under both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy law.
Deciding When Bankruptcy Is Your Best Option
It can be difficult to decide whether to move forward with a bankruptcy filing in Texas. Waco and Killeen bankruptcy attorney Erin B. Shank can help you analyze your situation and give you solid advice regarding all your financial questions. She will offer bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options with you so that you are able to make a fully informed decision regarding the how to address your financial concerns.
If you are behind on your home loan, she will discuss alternative to save your home without filing a five year, wage and income tax refund garnishment Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
Even if you are considering filing bankruptcy without your spouse, Erin meets with you and your spouse in order to advise your non-filing spouse of the ramifications your filing may have on him or her.
Erin and her staff review your credit reports with the three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Transunion and Equifax, and make sure that any creditors who have posted any derogatory remarks on your credit reports are included in your bankruptcy case filing. When you receive your bankruptcy discharge, Erin sends that Discharge Order to the three credit reporting agencies, asks them to correct your credit report to show that all of these debts have been discharged and you are then sent corrected credit reports so that you can begin your financial fresh start. Erin provides this service to all of her clients, for no extra charge.
If you are considering bankruptcy, discuss your options with bankruptcy attorney Erin B. Shank.
Who Can File for Bankruptcy in Texas?
People and corporations can file bankruptcy in Texas. You must live or have your principal assets in the Western District of Texas for 90 days before you can file bankruptcy here. Erin can file bankruptcy cases in all the bankruptcy courts in Texas, but generally limits her practice to Central Texas bankruptcy filings. However, since her office and the bankruptcy courts are now all virtual due to the Pandemic, she can file cases in any bankruptcy court in Texas.
How Do I File for Bankruptcy in Texas?
In order to prepare your bankruptcy case for filing, you will follow several key steps:
- Gathering your financial records – The documents needed to file bankruptcy are quite simple. Six months of bank statements for you and your spouse and your last two federal income tax returns are the basic documents that we need. Recent divorce decrees, wills showing inheritance issues and other documentation specific to your case may also be reviewed by Erin to ensure that all of your assets are protected and you can keep all of the assets that you want to keep. You then fill out a simple form listing your creditors and assets and that form can either be completed on line or on paper and mailed, emailed or dropped off in one of our convenient drop boxes at either of Waco or Killeen office.
- Completing a required credit counseling and debtor education – Part of the fees that you pay this law firm include the fee to take both the credit counseling course before your case is filed and the debtor education course that must be taken after your case is filed. Prior to filing your case, we will give you the passwords to take these courses so that your certificates of completion are timely filed in your case.
- Deciding on which type of bankruptcy to pursue – Realistically, the only two choices for the typical Texan considering a bankruptcy filing are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is easy, quick, there is no wage or income tax refund garnishment, and you are off to your fresh start in approximately three quick months. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you are actually the subject of a pending bankruptcy case for three to five years. Your wages and your income tax refunds are garnished. Your employer is told of your bankruptcy filing because of the wage garnishment requirement. You cannot incur debt or purchase any assets while you are in a pending Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. You do not receive a discharge until you make all your payments. Erin uses this type of bankruptcy filing very, very rarely and only as a last resort. If you have been told that a Chapter 13 filing is your only option, especially your only option to save your home, please see us for a free, virtual second opinion.
- Filing your bankruptcy paperwork with the Court – Once your fees have been paid and you have given us all of the required documents, a first draft of your paperwork is completed by the paralegal assigned to your case. You are then scheduled for a Zoom meeting with Erin and she goes over every page of your documentation with you to make sure it is completed correctly. We then collect your signatures electronically and file your case electronically. The day we file your case, we tell you when your telephonic hearing with Erin and the Trustee has been scheduled. Two months after that meeting with the Trustee, you receive your Bankruptcy Discharge Order in the mail. Your bankruptcy case, from initial consultation to discharge, will occur in a completely safe, touch fee environment from the comfort of your own home.
How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?
Many of our clients actually report that their credit scores increase after they receive their bankruptcy discharge. This is because we make sure that all derogatory entries on your credit report are included in your bankruptcy paperwork and that your credit reports are changed after your discharge to reflect that all of your debt has been discharged. We also have strong relationship with a large local car dealership who offers post discharge credit for car loans as soon as you receive your Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. This post discharge credit helps restore your credit score quickly and efficiently.
Can I Keep My Property After Filing for Bankruptcy?
Texas and Federal exemption laws allow virtually all debtor to retain all their assets. Although exemption law is complicated and varies from state to state, a brief summary of Texas and Federal exemption law is as follows:
- Automobiles and other motor vehicles – You can retain your vehicle as long as you continue to make the payments on that vehicle. However, many of our clients opt to purchase a replacement vehicle after their bankruptcy discharge thereby obtaining more reliable transportation and helping improve their credit.
- Homestead – Texas has one of the most generous homestead laws of all the fifty states. You can retain your home in the city, no matter how much it is worth, if it is on ten acres or less. You can retain your home in the country if it is on less than 100 acres if you are a single person and 200 acres or less if you are a member of a family.
- Retirement accounts – Retirement accounts, such as IRA’s and 401(k)’s, are exempt as long as they are valued at $1 million or less. Obviously, this large limit allows virtually all Texans to retain all their retirement when they file a bankruptcy case.
- Personal property – In Texas, you can keep all of the contents of your home as long as they are worth less than $50,000.00 if you are single and $100,000 if you are a member of a family. You are required to list all the assets that you own, under penalty of perjury, but these large limits allow virtually all honest debtors to retain all their assets as exempt.
Get Help from Our Waco and Killeen Bankruptcy Attorney
If you are considering a bankruptcy, talk with attorney Erin B. Shank about your options. Erin has been practicing exclusively bankruptcy law in Texas for almost 40 years. She has represented literally thousands of Texas, just like you, find honorable solutions to their debt and credit challenges. Contact our office for a free, virtual, initial consultation to explore your bankruptcy options.
Erin’s office if proud to be the only totally virtual bankruptcy law office in Central Texas. During these challenging times as we live in a Global Pandemic, filing bankruptcy with Erin is safe and convenient. Call us today to schedule your free, virtual, initial consultation.