Stop Creditor Harassment and Discharge Debt: Usually filing for bankruptcy puts an automatic stay on most collection activities. This allows our lawyers to prevent creditors from making harassing phone calls, work to get your repossessed property returned , and put a stop on wage garnishments.

Depending on which chapter is filed, most types of debt can be eliminated. Our lawyers work with your creditors to do away with medical bills and credit card debt. We offer valuable advice and assistance for clients concerned about student loans and expenses.

Protect Yourself From Unethical Practices: A few precautionary notes: Watch out for lawyers who claim to be “experienced,” but are actually new to bankruptcy law practice, although they may be experienced in other areas. Likewise, watch out for mortgage industry agencies that do not have your best interests at the heart of their lending practices. Finally, watch out for unscrupulous debt counseling, debt settlement or debt consolidation enterprises that create problems rather than providing true debt relief. Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC has the level of experience and the genuine answers that our clients seek.

As a leading Chicago Bankruptcy Law Firm, our lawyers have more than 50 years of bankruptcy experience that we utilize to help you eliminate debt in Chicago and its suburbs. Our focus is on bankruptcy and only bankruptcy, which makes us highly familiar with local regulations, trustees, judges and creditors.

The Bankruptcy Process
Bankruptcy issues can be confusing and financial warning signs can grow into bigger problems quickly. That is why we lay out a timeline designed for your situation. From choosing the right Chicago bankruptcy attorney to rebuilding your credit after filing , we answer all your questions and can help you decide if filing bankruptcy is right for you .

Chapter 7
Receive a fresh start by discharging all of your eligible debt.

Chapter 13
Individuals who can afford to pay some of their debt back can establish a repayment plan with Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 11
Also known as “business reorganization bankruptcy,” Chapter 11 permits a company to set up a repayment schedule, allowing for the retention of professional relationships and continuation of business operations.

Chapters 9, 12, and 15
 These chapters deal with bankruptcy options for farmers, fishermen, municipalities and cross-border cases.

Life After Bankruptcy
Foreclosure Assistance: If you want to prevent a foreclosure , filing for bankruptcy may be an option that could save your house. Our lawyers will provide you with the foreclosure information you require.

Chicago Car Repossession Lawyers Defending You In Bankruptcy

Stop A Car Repo Today • Chicago Debt Relief Attorneys

Even if your vehicle has already been repossessed, you may still be able to get it back. Whether your vehicle has been repossessed or is in danger of repossession, act quickly to preserve your interests. You are operating under a strict timeframe — speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

We are focused exclusively on providing debt relief and bankruptcy services in Chicago, Illinois. Our lawyers offer experienced, cost-effective and personalized service, creating strategies suited to fit each unique situation. Call 312-853-0200 or contact us online for a free consultation with an attorney at our firm.

Repossession in Illinois. If you are 31 days behind on payments, your car (or other property) can be repossessed. After repossession, you have 20 days until the car can be sold at auction. Usually, the car is sold for two-thirds its value at most — and you will be expected to pay the balance. Stop Repossession with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop repossession instantly.

Even if your car has already been repossessed, we may be able to help you get it back. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works in part by allowing you to create a debt repayment plan to catch up on past payments for secured debts like car loans (if you want to keep your car, you will still have to pay for it). The instant you file for bankruptcy, an “automatic stay” usually takes effect — a court order forcing your creditors to stop all efforts at collecting on your debt. This will immediately stop repossession as well as foreclosure and wage garnishment.

If your car has been repossessed, the vehicle sold and the finance company is pursuing you to collect the balance owed, then Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the option for you as a Chapter 7 will discharge your liability on this debt.

If you are facing repossession, you should speak with an experienced lawyer to learn about your options and find out if bankruptcy is right for you. For a free consultation with an attorney call 312-853-0200 or contact our offices online.


In any type of bankruptcy, a debtor must declare all income, assets and debts. There is no opportunity to hold back a debt. You cannot keep a loan such as a loan from a family member or business partner in an attempt to keep the effects of the bankruptcy away from that creditor.

However, it is important to know that not all debts are the same in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Debts will be categorized by the bankruptcy trustee into three categories:

  • Priority debts, including debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy at all such as back child support and most taxes. These debts must be paid in full over the three- to five-year period of debt repayment that makes up a Chapter 13 bankruptcy debt reorganization plan.
  • Secured debts such as car loans and mortgages. These types of loans involve liens placed on the property. Unpaid back car loan payments or mortgage arrearages will be second priority in the debt reorganization.
  • Unsecured debts, including credit card debts and medical bills, are at the lowest priority for repayment in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In many cases, only a fraction of the total owed is repaid. A cash loan from a family member will usually fall in this category.

Keep in mind that once your debt discharge takes effect at the end of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment period, you will then be free to voluntarily repay any debts that were discharged in part or in whole.

Only three lawyers in Chicago are certified in consumer bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification*. Two are partners at Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC. We are prepared to advise you and guide you through bankruptcy with your best interests at the forefront.

Concerned About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Contact an Experienced Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC

Call or e-mail us to schedule a free initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

*The American Board of Certification is accredited by the American Bar Association and sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Commercial Law League of America. Federal law recognizes board certification in bankruptcy. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Whether a debtor files Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, all income, debts and assets must be declared. A debtor who does not list all debts, including home mortgage and car loan, will be in violation of fundamental requirements for filing bankruptcy.

One of the first questions people have when they’re thinking about bankruptcy is whether they can keep their house and car. For most people, these are the most valuable things they own, and they don’t want to lose them if at all possible. To get a better idea of what happens with homes and vehicles in bankruptcy, we surveyed our readers across the United States about their experiences.

Your House in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy—the kind that gets rid of debt most quickly—you can keep your house under two conditions: You’re current with your mortgage payments when you file (or you’ve recently gotten current through a loan modification), and the laws in your state allow you to protect (“exempt”) all of the equity you have in the property. (For details, see our article on keeping a house or car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.) By giving you relief from other kinds of debts, like credit card or medical bills, bankruptcy can free up money to help you keep up with your mortgage. Most of our readers had this experience: 68% of those who went through Chapter 7 bankruptcy were able to keep their home.

If you’ve already fallen behind on your mortgage payments when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’re likely to lose your house. Filing for bankruptcy lets you stay in your home another month or two, but ultimately, the bank will foreclose on the property. But if the foreclosure sale price is less than what you owe on the mortgage, your remaining mortgage debt can be discharged in bankruptcy. (And you may save money on taxes. For more on this, see our article on Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure.) Our readers who lost their houses reported an average discharge of $130,000 in mortgage debt after filing Chapter 7.

Your House in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

When you’re behind on your mortgage payments but want to keep your home, Chapter 13 bankruptcy might give you the time you need to catch up. Under this type of bankruptcy, the court approves a plan for you to repay the past-due mortgage amounts over three to five years, while continuing to make your current mortgage payments. As long you keep up with both of those payments, your lender can’t foreclose on the house.

How often do Chapter 13 filers succeed in completing their repayment plans? Many of the readers we surveyed were still making their plan payments, but of the others, nearly half (48%) had their case dismissed before they were able to complete the plan, which usually happens when a debtor can’t keep up with the payments. It was likely that these readers didn’t have enough income to cover their living expenses (including their current mortgage payments) as well as the monthly plan payments. Bottom line: Despite good intentions, not all Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers are able to keep their houses.

Your Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

As with a house, you can keep your car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you’re current with your loan payments (or the car is paid off), and your state’s laws allow you to exempt your equity in the vehicle. Not surprising, the vast majority of our readers (87%) who filed under Chapter 7 were able to keep their cars.

Many lenders will allow you simply to keep making payments on your auto loan after your file for bankruptcy, but they potentially could repossess the car (even if you don’t fall behind on those payments) unless you “reaffirm” the debt by agreeing to a new contract. Still, less than two in ten (17%) of our readers told us they reaffirmed their auto loan debt.

If the car is worth less than the balance on your loan, you can ask the court to let you “redeem” it by paying a lump sum for its actual value—that is, if you can somehow come up with the money. Otherwise, you can choose to give up (or “surrender”) your car, which means that your debt will be wiped out in the bankruptcy. Readers who chose this option discharged an average of $13,500 in debt for their auto loans.

Your Car in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Readers who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy were also very likely to keep their cars. If you’re behind on your vehicle loan, you can use a Chapter 13 plan to catch up with your overdue payments (as with mortgage debt), but you also have a couple of other options that don’t apply to house loans. In Chapter 13, you might be able to stretch out the car payments over a longer period. Or, if the car loan is old enough, you might even be able to lower the balance on the principal and your interest rate. (For details, see our article on paying off past-due secured debts in Chapter 13.)

Your qualified debts will be discharged as long as you follow the requirements of a chapter 13 filing. Those include taking a financial management course and certifying that all payments have been made.

Despite these benefits, there are limitations to what this process can do. According to the U.S. Courts, there are several debts that will not be discharged in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, such as the following:

  •        The mortgage on your home (though a second mortgage may be eliminated)
  •        Certain taxes, especially if the debt is less than three years old
  •        Most student loans
  •        Child support or alimony payments
  •        Fines or penalties related to criminal activity or a civil lawsuit regarding certain personal injury cases, such as drunk driving

Any debts that were occurred due to fraudulent activity or other personal injury matters could be eligible for discharge. However, the U.S. Courts note that a creditor is able to file a motion to make the debt nondischargeable.

Even if you have these debts, you should recognize that a chapter 13 filing could free up money to pay them because the amount you owe to other creditors may be lowered. When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is placed on all your debts, allowing you to get your finances in order.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

As the U.S. Courts point out, there are three categories in which each of your debts may fall, and those are the following:

  •        Priority: These include payments such as child support, most taxes, and alimony.
  •        Secured: These are the debts for which a creditor has a right to take back property, such as your home or car.
  •        Unsecured: These are items in which creditors do not have a right to property, such as credit card debt.

The U.S. Courts note that in your chapter 13 repayment plan, you will be responsible for paying all of your priority debts in full. If you wish to keep your assets, you will have to pay either the total value of property in secured debt or the total value of the debt, depending on the circumstances.

When it comes to unsecured debt, you may not have to pay the full amount. There are several factors that will determine how much of this debt you will need to pay. Your monthly income and the length of your repayment plan, for example, will dictate how much you will owe on these debts.

This happened recently with a woman living in Carterville. The woman stated that she paid for family and personal expenses out of a workers’ compensation claim settlement for $17,500. However, when she filed for bankruptcy, she chose not to disclose that payout to the court. It is uncertain how authorities discovered the hidden money or whether there was anything left. Consequently, the woman was charged with committing bankruptcy fraud. Now, she faces a prison sentence of up to five years after entering a plea of guilty.

There are many rules and guidelines in place when it comes to filing for bankruptcy, Therefore, people may find it worthwhile to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. The attorney can help them understand how bankruptcy works, choose the right bankruptcy filing for their situation, point out what assets they may be able to keep and prepare their paperwork. An attorney can also answer any questions filers may have and assist them in gathering together a complete list of their financial obligations and their monetary assets.

Source: The Southern Illinoisan, “Carterville woman pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud,” Dustin Duncan, July 13, 2016

When a creditor garnishes a debtor’s wages, federal and state laws place a limit on how much money a creditor can take out of each paycheck. While federal law prohibits creditors from taking more than 25 percent of the debtor’s income, Illinois state law reduces that limit to 15 percent. The garnishments are taken out of the debtor’s paycheck after all other deductions have been made.

Once you file for Chapter 13, the creditors that are listed on your application will be notified of your case. At that point, those creditors are no longer able to contact you or garnish your wages. If you notice that a payment has been taken out of your paycheck after you have filed with the court, you should contact your attorney as soon as possible. Our office will speak with your company about stopping the garnished wages and may contact the creditor as well.

To find out more information about filing for bankruptcy and garnished wages, visit our Chapter 13 bankruptcy page.

Debtors have several options when it comes to accumulating the money needed to file for bankruptcy. Depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you are planning to file, you may want to stop making payments on your credit cards. Since you are attempting to discharge the debt, you can take the money that you would use for the monthly payments and put it toward obtaining an attorney. Keep in mind that once you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay will keep creditors from harassing you with constant calls and correspondence.

There are some attorneys that may help you by working out a payment plan. This allows you to pay your attorneys’ fees and bankruptcy filing costs in affordable monthly amounts over time. Although you are able to file for bankruptcy on your own, without the legal assistance of an attorney, it may be better to go through the process with a professional in your corner. The bankruptcy process can be confusing, and having an experienced lawyer there to answer your questions and walk you through the process may prove to be vital.

The story involves a man that required urgent care. The only way to get the treatment he needed was to receive transportation through the use of an air ambulance transport service.

Is the cost of ambulance transportation covered? Unfortunately, even if a patient has medical insurance, not all the medical costs needed for care may be covered. As a result, the answer to this question depends on the language of your insurance policy and the details of the situation.

In some circumstances, a ride in an ambulance may not qualify for coverage. This can leave the patient left to cover the cost. If that emergency transport involved air travel, such as in an air ambulance like a helicopter, the cost left to the patient could translate to a bill of almost $30,000.

In the story noted above, the man’s insurance policy did not cover the cost of transportation for a number of reasons. As a result, he was left with a bill of approximately $27,000.

What can I do if I can’t manage my medical debt? Those who are struggling with medical debt have options. One option is to seek relief through bankruptcy.

In many cases, medical debt qualifies for discharge through bankruptcy. This means the debt would essentially be forgiven. There are different types of relief available through bankruptcy, but the most common for individuals struggling with this form of debt are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

These two forms of bankruptcy offer different benefits and should be discussed with an attorney. Legal counsel can review the details of your situation and help you choose the best option for a fresh financial start.