Chapter 7

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Killeen & Waco, Texas Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

Serving Clients Throughout North Texas

Are you struggling to pay your bills and cover your day-to-day expenses while debt just keeps piling up? If so, this may be the time to consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The very thought of dealing with bankruptcy can be overwhelming. However, bankruptcy does not have to be that way. In fact, bankruptcy can give you a financial  fresh start.

Attorney Erin B. Shank is here to help. For 40 years, Erin has represented clients through Chapter 7 bankruptcy from start to finish. Erin understands how a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can free people from the burden of crushing debt. Erin knows how to stand up for clients during the bankruptcy process.

Erin is committed to your convenience and safety throughout the bankruptcy process. You never have to leave the comfort and safety of your own home. Erin offers virtual consultations, electronic document gathering, Zoom conferences with her to review your bankruptcy paperwork, electronic filing, and telephonic court appearances. This is the safest law firm to use to file your bankruptcy case during this Global Pandemic.

For your free consultation with Erin B. Shank, contact Erin online today or by phone at (254) 690-4110.

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 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.

What Happens When You File for Bankruptcy?

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an "automatic stay" is immediately put into effect. This automatic stay is a legal injunction that halts actions by creditors to collect debts. This means that the minute you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any foreclosure proceedings are stopped right in their tracks. This provides you with a breather and the opportunity to work out a plan moving forward. In addition, a meeting with your creditors, also known as a "341 meeting", is arranged. Here, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case - not a judge - will ask you questions about your bankruptcy and the paperwork you have filed. It's important to note that in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you rarely meet with a judge. The whole process is designed to help you regain control of your finances and guide you toward a fresh start.

How Will Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

Before Erin files your bankruptcy case, 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 her clients, for no extra charge.

Will Chapter 7 Stop a Lawsuit Against Me?

When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay is imposed automatically as your case is filed.  This stay prevents your creditors from continuing their efforts to collect the money they claim you owe. 

This includes any efforts to win money from you in a lawsuit involving:

  • Unpaid credit card balances
  • Compensation owed for breach of contract
  • Home foreclosures for mortgage nonpayment
  • Money owed in a civil claim or judgment

Unfortunately, bankruptcy can't prevent every type of legal action. 

After filing under Chapter 7, you will still be subject to the consequences of:

  • Criminal charges or convictions
  • Divorce and separation proceedings
  • Child custody and support cases

Speak with a Chapter 7 lawyer at Erin B. Shank during a free initial consultation. Contact us online or dial (254) 690-4110 today. We serve clients throughout Waco & Killeen

How a Central Texas Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help

A chapter 7 bankruptcy case can be the first step on the path to financial recovery. Your bankruptcy paperwork is signed by you and your spouse under the penalty of perjury and so it is very important that your complicated bankruptcy documents are completed correctly and truthfully. You can rest easy with Erin and her staff of paralegals. 

Our bankruptcy firm will do the following:

  • Plan for your bankruptcy – Bankruptcy laws require in-depth analysis and knowledge. Your attorney will also give you a questionnaire in which you list all of your assets and all of your debts.  Your bankruptcy paperwork is signed by you under the penalty of perjury and you must include all of your assets and all of your liabilities. Don’t try to hide assets from your attorney – it is better to disclose all of your assets to your attorney who can then advise you as to whether they are exempt or if there is any problem retaining them. 

    It is important to get someone on your side who knows how to plan and file your case. Let Erin's four decades of experience guide you as you make this very important decision.
  • Identify the documents you will need – The documents typically required are listed below:
    • Pay stubs for the last 6 months, preceding the filing of your case (if you are married, include your spouses' pay stubs)
    • Last 2 years of federal income tax returns that you have filed
    • Last 6 months of bank statements in all of your checking & savings accounts
    • Copies of any lawsuits that have been filed by you or against you
    • Any divorce decrees entered in the last 5 years
    • If more specific documents are needed because of specific issues unique to your case, Erin will inform you and help you obtain them, if necessary. 
  • Analyze your situation and recommend a course of action – Every bankruptcy case is unique. You need an experienced and thoughtful Texas chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney to review your fact situation and ensure you take the best path forward.
  • Explain bankruptcy law and what it means for you – Erin Shank meets with each of her clients and their spouses (even if their spouses are not joining in the bankruptcy filing) to explain the process and effect of bankruptcy to each of her clients. She also personally attends every Court appearance in each of her cases.
  • Draft bankruptcy filings for the court – Every document that you sign and are filed in your bankruptcy case are signed by you and your spouse  under the penalty of perjury. These documents can be very complicated. Erin has been working with clients for forty years completing these same documents for each client. You will know when you hire Erin that your documents are being prepared completely and accurately due to her extensive experience in representing clients just like you file their bankruptcy cases.
  • Handle any communications with creditors – As soon as you retain the firm to represent you, Erin and her paralegals begin receiving your creditor calls and letters while you pay the legal fees and get your required documents to Erin that are necessary for her to prepare your case for filing.  After your bankruptcy case is filed, those creditors are prohibited from calling you or contacting you and foreclosing on any of your assets.  The stress of those collection calls and letters both before and after your bankruptcy case filing is completely removed as Erin and her staff responds to all creditor communication for all their clients.
  • Stand up for you during meetings with the trustee or creditors – Erin has been practicing with the Chapter 7 Trustees in Central Texas for many, many years. She has a very good professional relationship with the Trustees and will communicate directly with him/her regarding any issues or problems that may arise in your case so that they can be handled correctly. All creditor collection calls and letters are also handled directly by Erin and the from the minute you retain this law firm, even before your actual bankruptcy case is filed with the Court.

Schedule a Consultation Today. Call (254) 690-4110.

If you are considering filing a bankruptcy case, contact an attorney’s office for a consultation. You will leave with a better understanding of how bankruptcy can help you and a packet containing the documents you must gather to enable to our Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer to prepare your case for filing. 

If you are married, bring your spouse with you to the consultation, even if your spouse is not planning to file the bankruptcy case with you. We also ask non-filing spouses to attend the second session in which the bankruptcy paperwork is complied and filed. Attending these sessions lets both spouses understand the bankruptcy process, understand the impact that the filing has on both the filing and non-filing spouse and helps the lawyer makes sure that the bankruptcy paperwork is prepared accurately.

If you have other questions, reach out to Erin today and schedule a free initial virtual consultation to discuss your options.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test in Texas

In 2005, amendments to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code became law and those amendments require your attorney to collect your income from all sources for the six months preceding the filing of your bankruptcy case in order to correctly complete a portion of the bankruptcy forms called the Means Test. The Means Test is a complicated document and many types of income, including social security income and VA disability income, are excluded from the Means Test but should be included in your budget that is also filed with your bankruptcy case. Erin Shank has studied the case law that has been in judicial opinions  about the Means Test and is familiar with how to complete that complicated form correctly and how to apply the many exceptions to the Means Test. Even over the median, debtors on the Means Test can file Chapter 7 relief under certain circumstances. If you are concerned about whether or not the Means Test will allow you to file a Chapter 7 case, you need to consult an experienced, knowledgeable Texas chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney like Erin B. Shank to assist you with those complicated documents.

If you have questions about the Means Test and how it might affect you, talk with Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer Erin B. Shank in Waco or Killeen today.

Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy My Best Option? What to Do If You Can’t Afford it?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can discharge virtually all debt, except student loans, child support, and some IRS debt. It is a powerful tool for people who want to free themselves from their debts and get back on their feet quickly and efficiently. The vast majority of Erin's practice consists of clients filing for Chapter 7 relief and receiving quick and meaningful debt relief so that they can obtain a financial fresh start.

After attending a free consultation with this law firm, Erin's clients learn that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an extremely good option for them. These individuals often have high levels of unsecured debt (such as credit cards, payday loans, and medical bills). They are able to discharge this debt and work, with Erin's suggestions, on improving their credit and getting their financial fresh start. Chapter 7 debtors do not have their wages or income tax refunds garnished and, due to generous Texas and Federal exemptions, are entitled to keep all their assets as exempt. It is truly a great resource for individuals struggling with the burdens of debt and credit reports full of derogatory comments.

Chapter 13 bankruptcies require you to remain in an active bankruptcy case for three to five years where you and your income is monitored, and your wages and income tax refunds are garnished to pay your creditors. You actually pay another bankruptcy attorney, called the Chapter 13 Trustee, a 10% commission on every payment made to your creditors. Chapter 13 is really financial imprisonment and is therefore rarely recommended by Erin to her clients. If someone has told you that Chapter 13 is your only option for debt relief, please call or contact Erin for a free, virtual, initial consultation to discuss your alternatives

If you are considering bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer Erin Shank can review your situation and help you decide the best option to aggressively address your financial situation.

For experienced guidance with your Chapter 7 filing, contact Erin B. Shank at (254) 690-4110 or complete an online form. We are happy to answer your questions.

How Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Texas Work, Especially During COVID 19?

Erin respects the health concerns of her clients and her paralegals and has developed the only completely touch-free bankruptcy filing system in Central Texas. All other law firms require clients to meet with them personally many times during the case, which can be a health challenge for everyone.

When you hire Erin to handle your bankruptcy case, you can get your debt relief in a completely safe, touch-free system that Erin has developed.

 That system is as follows:

  • Your free, initial consultation with the firm is conducted virtually, either on the phone or by Zoom.
  • At your initial consultation, you will be quoted a fee for the costs of filing your case with Erin's firm. While you are current on your payment plan with Erin's firm, Erin responds to all your creditor calls and letters to take the stress of that painful interaction off of you. You can pay all your fees to the firm on our website and will receive a bill each month setting forth each payment you have made and your outstanding balance.
  • After your fees are paid in full, Erin will need to obtain simple documentation from you which you can mail, email, scan, fax or drop off at either of our office locations in a dropbox. You fill out a simple questionnaire, either online or by paper, and then send that completed questionnaire to us either online, through the mail, or in one of the office lock boxes.
  • A paralegal then works with you telephonically to prepare the first draft of your bankruptcy paperwork. You then meet with Erin Shank personally via Zoom for several hours as your bankruptcy papers are reviewed and finalized. You sign those documents electronically through a touch free method  and then she will e-file your case. The moment Erin e-files your case, she will know when your telephonic meeting with the Trustee is scheduled. You know the day your case is filed when your meeting with the Trustee has been scheduled.  Erin calls you the night before the meeting and prepares you for that telephonic meeting with the Bankruptcy Trustee. She appears telephonically with you on that call and is there to help you answer all of the Trustee's questions.
  • You then receive your bankruptcy discharge about 60 days after the meeting with the Trustee. It is sent to you in the U.S. Mail by the Bankruptcy Court's Clerk. Corrected credit reports are then also sent to you by Experian, Transunion, and Equifax by the U.S. mail because Erin writes those companies and tells them to correct your credit reports to show that your debts have been discharged.  She requests those credit reporting agencies to send you corrected credit reports and you will receive those within thirty days of your bankruptcy discharge. 

This is the first time in American history that an individual can file bankruptcy completely touch-free. Let your bankruptcy filing occur in a completely safe and convenient environment from the comfort of your own home.  Not only will you not be exposed to Covid 19, you will also not be exposed to any other contagious condition (such as the common cold or strep throat).  

Talk to a Texas Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Now

If you are considering bankruptcy, contact an experienced chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney today. With 40 years of experience, Erin B. Shank understands the bankruptcy process and knows what it can mean for your future. Erin offers a range of contact-free services, including virtual consultations, electronic signatures, filing, Zoom conferences with her, and telephone court appearances, to make your entire bankruptcy process safe during this COVID 19 scare.

For a free, initial, virtual case consultation, contact Erin B. Shank today. Reach out online through this online form or by phone at (254) 690-4110.

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