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 many ways, a married couple constitutes one legal and financial unit, but there are also many ways in which a wife and husband can operate separately in their financial lives.

  • Either spouse can apply for credit in his or her own name only.
  • Either spouse can start a business in his or her name only.
  • An inheritance may be considered separate rather than marital property.
  • Married people may choose to file income taxes jointly or separately.
  • Either spouse may declare bankruptcy without involvement of the other.

A generalized answer to the question of “Do we have to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy jointly?” is “No,” but there are some caveats. Naturally, a marriage will have an impact on a bankruptcy filing, whether or not both spouses file. For example, household income and expenses will include both spouses’ finances.

Also, any debt that is held jointly by both spouses will be discharged only for the person who files bankruptcy. The other spouse could be held liable for the entire debt by the creditor. In Illinois, this includes medical bills for either spouse. Illinois laws hold that medical expenses of either spouse or their dependents incurred while a couple is living together are joint debts of the two people. Therefore, in order to fully discharge medical debts in a bankruptcy, a married person will need to file together with the other spouse.

However, there are many circumstances in which married couples may not wish to file bankruptcy together, and sometimes this is the best decision when all factors are taken into consideration.

For example, a wife might not want to join in a bankruptcy filing, and she and her husband have $3,000 in joint credit card debts, in addition to other debts that are his alone. In this case, it may make perfect sense for the husband to file bankruptcy separately in order to eliminate the husband’s debt, even though this will mean that the wife will still be responsible for the $3,000 in joint credit card debts. Once the bankruptcy is complete and the Chapter 7 debt discharge is issued, the husband can join with the wife in repaying that debt.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney

Bring your questions regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy to our attention at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC. Only three lawyers in Chicago are certified in consumer bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification*. Two are partners at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC. Contact us to schedule a No Obligation Consultation.

*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.

Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC has offices in Downtown Chicago, South Side Chicago, Calumet City, North Riverside/Berwyn, Northwest Side and Schaumburg

Do I Have to Include All My Debts in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be wondering whether you have to include all your debts. Perhaps you owe money to a favorite uncle, to a business partner or to your family dentist. You may hope to avoid involving certain people in your bankruptcy at all. You might rather not even tell them that you are going to file bankruptcy – and you certainly do not want them to receive official notices from the bankruptcy court stating that you are off the hook with regard to those debts.

Will Your Bankruptcy Harm Important Relationships in Your Life?

Such concerns are understandable and are natural for people who are contemplating bankruptcy. You may believe that to renege on your promises will damage your relationships.

On the other hand, some of your debts may be attached to things that are special and important to you such as your fishing boat or your child’s musical instrument. So you wonder whether you can simply leave those debts off the list that you submit to the bankruptcy trustee and repay them as planned.

All Debts Must Be Included in Your Bankruptcy Filing

The truth about bankruptcy, however, is that you must include all debts to any debtor(s) anywhere in the world. Even your home mortgage and your car loan must be listed. Any debts that are dischargeable will most likely be discharged if your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is successful. Officially, those debts will cease to exist and your creditors (even your favorite uncle) will be banned from ever trying to collect on those debts.

In fact, however, once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is complete, you are free to direct your money wherever you wish. With a clean slate, you will still be able to repay an old debt if you wish (such as a loan from your uncle), with the understanding that the former creditor has no right to try to collect from you.

In some cases such as with your mortgage and/or car loan, you may elect to reaffirm a debt in order to avoid repossession of your property by the former creditor. Talk to an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy law attorney about how to position yourself most favorably when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Discuss Your Debts With an Experienced Chicago Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bring your tough questions to Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC with confidence. Remember: only three lawyers in Chicago are certified in consumer bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification*. Two are partners at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC. Contact us to schedule a No Obligation Consultation and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC.

*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.

If you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have questions about which debts you can have discharged. At Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC, our attorneys can help you understand which debts can be discharged and which you will still be responsible for. With more than 100 years’ combined experience in bankruptcy law, we are prepared to help you reach your debt relief goals.

Is filing bankruptcy right for you? Contact a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer by e-mail or call 312-853-0200 for a No Obligation Consultation at any of our seven office locations. Our Chicago Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys are here to protect your rights.

These Debts May or May Not Be Discharged

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy essentially “eliminates” your debt, discharging it completely. Certain debts, however, may not be discharged if certain circumstances apply.

  • Student loans: If you have student loans and file for bankruptcy, they can only be discharged if you are disabled or have another “undue hardship” that would qualify them for discharge.
  • Tax debts: Some tax debts can be discharged and some cannot. Tax debts that are older than three years old generally can be discharged.
  • Overpayment of Governmental Benefits: While generally dischargeable, governmental units can, and sometimes do, object to these debts being discharged. In these circumstances, it’s even more important to have an experienced attorney.

There are other debts you may choose to keep. For instance, if you have a car loan and wish to keep your car, you may sign a reaffirmation agreement. This will allow you to keep your vehicle and the debt associated with it as long as you stay current on payments.

No two situations are alike. To get an accurate understanding of what debts you can keep and which you can discard, it is important to speak with an experienced Chicago Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer. Our bankruptcy attorneys will work with you personally to answer your questions and help you through all stages of the process.

Contact The Chicago Bankruptcy Attorneys at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC

Contact our offices online or call 312-853-0200 to speak with an experienced Illinois Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer. We are ready to help.

Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC has offices in Downtown Chicago, the South Side of Chicago, Homewood, North Riverside/Berwyn, the Northwest Side and the Southeast Side.

  •        Motor vehicles or certain equity in them
  •        Clothing and household goods that are deemed necessary
  •        Pensions
  •        A portion of equity in a home or earned but unpaid wages
  •        Certain public benefits such as Social Security income and public assistance
  •        Tools associated with the person’s profession

Illinois enables debtors to opt out of federal exemptions and simply go by the state laws.  However, those laws place certain restrictions on some commonly exempt property. For example, state law dictates that only up to $15,000 in a home may be exempt from bankruptcy. The law also states that up to $2,400 in one car may be exempt and only up to $1,500 trade tools may be exempt.

Assets that are not exempt could possibly be converted. For example, nonexempt assets such as cash could be spent on items that would be considered necessary to living, such as rent or food. Additionally, an asset such as a boat or rental home could be sold, and that money could be used to purchase a vehicle.

The American Bar Association points out that while exemption planning is typically permissible, debtors should work with a professional because a misstep could result in getting charged with fraud. Leaving creditors with no real means of recovery could prompt a court to determine that the debtor engaged in fraudulent activity.

Chapter 7 is known as the liquidation bankruptcy and this can cause concern for many people living in Illinois. However, the Illinois General Assembly has established certain laws that grant exemption status to some types of personal property.

One property that is considered exempt is medical equipment. For example, if a doctor has prescribed that you, as the patient, should have a medical bed, then that bed may be considered exempt from the liquidation. Other items that may qualify under this definition may be contact lenses, fall detection systems, surgical implants, wheelchairs, ventilators, and dialysis machines.

Other sources of income may also be considered exempt in a bankruptcy court such as the following:

  •          Veterans benefits
  •          Spousal maintenance
  •          Child support
  •          Social Security benefits
  •          Life insurance payouts

Additionally, if you lost a loved one, upon whom you relied for support, and received a wrongful death payout, you may be able to keep that money. If that same person was injured, or you suffered an injury caused by the negligence of another person, the law allows you to keep up to $15,000 of the payout value. If the injury was caused by a criminal act, then you may be able to retain the entire amount, despite your bankruptcy status.

Property that has a genealogical value may also be exempt from seizure in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This can include family photographs or the family bible. Clothing, cars (if your equity interest is not over $2,400), professional books or trade tools may also be named as exempt property. It is important to understand that the determination of what qualifies as exempt personal property may be in the hands of the bankruptcy court and therefore, this information should not be construed as legal advice.

The National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees states that trustees are also required to submit reports to the Office of the U.S. Trustee as well as the court. Other roles of the trustee include the following:

  •          Preparing for liquidation by arranging the transfer of assets from the debtor
  •          Taking an in-depth look at the debtor’s overall situation
  •          Identifying all assets that would be eligible for liquidation
  •          Classifying debts as secured or unsecured
  •          Verifying that exemption claims are accurate

Additionally, the trustee oversees the meeting of creditors and will choose the questions concerning income, assets, expenses and liabilities that the debtor will need to answer during that meeting.

It should be noted that the trustee must withdraw from a bankruptcy case if the person has a connection with the case on a nonofficial level. While trustees are members of a panel, they are chosen by random when appointed to oversee a personal bankruptcy. To become a member of the panel, people must post a bond and pass a background check. Trustees often have a career as an accountant or attorney and are not considered employees of the government.

Having tens of thousands of dollars in debt can be problematic, especially for people who are just launching their careers and earning modest incomes. When trying to make ends meet, some may consider the option of filing for bankruptcy. Debt from student loans can be difficult to discharge, though it is sometimes possible.

Before seeking out bankruptcy, the U.S. Department of Education points out that there may be other ways to improve a financial situation. Certain federal loans may be forgiven or canceled based on individual circumstances. For example, if the school committed fraud or closed, the loans could be discharged.

However, for those who do not meet any of the federal guidelines, there is the undue hardship exception. Generally, bankruptcy will not wipe out or reorganize student loan debt and instead can address other items, such as a mortgage or credit card debt. This would free up money that could then be used to pay off student loans.

The undue hardship exception applies to people who are able to demonstrate that having to pay a student loan would create significant turmoil. Illinois courts use the Brunner test, which means that a debtor must meet all three of the following:

  •        Must have made a good faith effort to pay the loan
  •        Must be unable to maintain the minimum standard of living based on current income and other expenses
  •        Must not have any upcoming change in his or her financial situation

The courts will weigh these factors to determine if student loans could be addressed during a bankruptcy proceeding.