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.

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.

When you file for bankruptcy, you will have to attend this meeting along with your attorney and your trustee. It may sound a bit scary, but the 341 meeting is not as arduous an event as you might think.

The purpose

At this first meeting of equity security holders and creditors, you as the debtor must appear and answer questions under penalty of perjury. The examination enables the trustee to better understand your circumstances and to begin an efficient administration of your bankruptcy case.

What happens

You may feel somewhat relieved to know that the 341 meeting does not occur in the presence of a judge. The trustee assigned by the United States Trustee is in charge of conducting the hearing, which will only last a few minutes. Your creditors will receive notification of your filing for bankruptcy, and while they may decide to attend, they usually do not; they do not waive their rights if they choose not to appear. Under oath, you will answer questions about subjects such as your assets, liabilities, financial circumstances and conduct in handling your debts. Remember that your attorney will be with you; you do not have to manage this hearing alone.

What not to do

The one thing you must not do is fail to appear at the 341 meeting. If that should happen, or if you appear but do not answer the questions asked, the trustee can request the dismissal of your bankruptcy case. The court could also order you to cooperate with the trustee or else hold you in contempt.

Part of the process

Think of the 341 meeting as a natural part of the bankruptcy process. Completing this meeting brings you one step closer to resolving your debt, removing that dark cloud hanging over your head and heading off on the path to a much brighter future.

When you are under a good deal of stress, mistakes are easy to make, but here are five common missteps that could be damaging to your petition for bankruptcy.

Submitting an incomplete list of creditors

Skipping a creditor when you prepare your list may be a simple error given all the various bills you might have. On the other hand, you may want to keep a special account out of the mix. However, the law requires you to include all creditors when you file for bankruptcy.

Trying to hide assets

You may have an additional bank account you feel tempted to keep from view. You might consider transferring money to a friend or family member for safekeeping until you finalize the bankruptcy. Keep in mind that hiding assets is against the law. By doing so, you could jeopardize your filing, you might have to pay a fine and you could even face a prison sentence.

Repaying a family obligation

Perhaps you wish to repay a debt owed to a relative ahead of your filing because you do not want to include it in the bankruptcy process. The bankruptcy trustee may see that as a “preferential” payment and disallow it, in which case, your relative would have to return that money and pay it to the trustee.

Enjoying a spending spree

Many people think they can go on a spending spree before filing for bankruptcy. They reason that charging more debt to their credit cards at this point would not matter. Do not become a member of this misinformed group; the additional debt may not be dischargeable. Stop using your credit cards.

Not acting promptly

An experienced bankruptcy attorney will tell you not to delay filing for bankruptcy because your delinquent debts will just continue to snowball. You may have lost your job. You may be struggling under a mountain of medical bills. Whatever the circumstances, bankruptcy is a legal solution for getting out of debt. The faster you act, the faster you can enjoy a fresh new start for your life.

Here is a brief look at how four celebrities coped after making the decision to file for bankruptcy.

Director Francis Ford Coppola

One of the most revered directors in Hollywood, Francis Ford Coppola, filed for bankruptcy in 1992. At the time, he owed $98 million but his assets only came to $52 million. He blamed “One From the Heart” for most of his financial woes. The movie cost $27 million to make but brought in only $4 million. Today, Mr. Coppola still makes films and he also owns a winery and a group of boutique hotels.

Actress Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger reportedly had a net worth of $5.4 million when she declared bankruptcy in 1993. Her financial problems erupted when she backed out of making a film and was sued for breach of contract. The lawsuit was settled after three years, and today, Ms. Basinger, who is still acting, is worth $36 million.

Former Pitcher Curt Schilling

Baseball great Curt Schilling made some bad investments after retiring from the major leagues. He earned $114 million as a pitcher, then invested in a company that had to file for bankruptcy in 2012. Schilling had to sell the family home and his famous bloody sock, and he underwent treatment for cancer as well. Since then, he has returned to the public eye and ear via the syndicated news network

TV-radio Personality Larry King

When talk show host Larry King filed for bankruptcy in 1978, he was $352,000 in debt. Fortunately, CNN offered him a job as host of a late-night radio talk show. That program developed into “Larry King Live,” which ran for 25 years. Today, Mr. King is said to be worth $150 million.

Looking forward

Though you may not be as famous or wealthy as some of the celebrities who file for bankruptcy, you can find inspiration in their stories. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will tell you that everything is relative, and every story is unique. Once you have decided that bankruptcy is your best option for getting out of debt, you can look forward to a better, brighter future.

When you are facing debt that you cannot pay, the best thing you can do is act early, talk to creditors and consider bankruptcy. Otherwise, if you ignore and fail to pay your debt, your employer may start to withhold some of your wages because of a court judgment.

The last resort of debt collection

Generally, wage garnishment is the last step that debt collectors take. If you notice your wages are being withheld, you are probably in deep trouble. Wage garnishment usually occurs after the creditor determines it cannot recover the debt. your wages can only be garnished if the creditor files a lawsuit against you. If the lawsuit is successful, the court may issue a judgment that approves the withholding of your wages, bank accounts or property.

Tackle the issue head-on

If you receive notices of wage garnishment, you may try to deal with it the same way you deal with your debt, which is by ignoring it. It can be stressful to communicate with creditors and come to terms with your financial troubles. You may want to bury your head in the sand and pretend this is not happening. However, this will not stop the issue from getting worse. You should try your best to pay back your debt or look into filing bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy can help

While declaring bankruptcy may sound scary, it may be the best thing for you to do if you are suffering from wage garnishment. When you declare bankruptcy, a federal order will overrule the garnishment judgment. Do not be afraid to consider bankruptcy to stop wage garnishment.

Once the bankruptcy is behind you, restoring your credit will be the next goal, and you can begin by putting together a plan of action in five easy steps.

1. Take stock of your situation

You can get free annual credit reports. Take a close look to make sure all the information is accurate. If there are errors, you will need to dispute them and see that the mistakes are corrected. You will also want to check your credit score—also for free—and look at the same score each month in order to track it accurately.

2. Develop a budget

Putting a budget together will help immensely when you are rebuilding your credit. You probably received budget counseling in connection with the bankruptcy process, and it will help you keep your finances in check.

3. Create your emergency fund

Make it a habit to set a little money aside each month. Having an emergency fund of even $200-$300 will help you take care of unexpected expenses so that you will not have to take a payday loan or use your credit card.

4. Apply for secured credit

A secured credit card is one that you back with a deposit, and the credit line is normally that amount. Having this kind of card after bankruptcy helps to build a good credit profile. Be sure that the bank or credit union you choose for your card reports activity not just to one, but to all three credit bureaus. You want to have your credit information recorded everywhere.

5. Make timely payments

Once you have put all the parts of your post-bankruptcy plan into action, keep it humming along by making payments on time every month. When you begin seeing an improved credit score, you will be proud of yourself and well on your way to a sound financial future.