Kassandra Kuehl

Kassandra Kuehl

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Basics: Why & When is Property Liquidated?

A bankruptcy liquidation is the process by which a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee sells the filer’s assets to repay unsecured debts, such as credit cards, child support, or tax debt, as part of a bankruptcy filing. Let’s take a closer look at when a Chapter 7 case takes the form of a true “liquidation” bankruptcy.

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Filing Bankruptcy to Deal With Your Student Loan Debt? Here are 5 Things You Should Know!

Everyone knows that it’s very hard to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. But that is not the same thing as saying that student loans can never be eliminated through a bankruptcy filing. Ultimately, it’s the bankruptcy court judge that makes the decision on whether someone should be able to eliminate their student loans through bankruptcy. Here are the five things you should know if you’re considering bankruptcy to deal with your student loan burden.

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Filing Bankruptcy After a Car Accident

If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident, you may be struggling with making ends meet as you recover physically, mentally, and emotionally from the trauma you’ve experienced. Depending on the details of your financial situation, you may benefit from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, regardless of whether you’re also filing a personal injury claim. This guide will introduce you to the process of filing bankruptcy in the wake of a car accident so that you can make an informed decision about your legal and financial options at this time.

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My Bankruptcy Was Dismissed. What Happens Now?

A bankruptcy case is much like any other legal proceeding in that it may be affected by delays, impacted by other legal action, and subject to dismissal. This guide provides bankruptcy filers with a sense of their obligations as a debtor, how to prevent dismissal of a bankruptcy case, how to better ensure that a case is dismissed when bankruptcy dismissal is the goal, and options filers may want to consider if their case has already been dismissed.

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What are the New Mexico Bankruptcy Exemptions?

In New Mexico, filers are generally allowed to choose between applying federal bankruptcy exemptions or state-specific bankruptcy exemptions to their property. This means that most filers can take advantage of either exemption structure, depending on which will yield the most favorable results. However, if you haven’t lived in New Mexico for a minimum of two years, you may be required to use a specific exemption structure in accordance with federal and state laws. This approach aims to prevent people from moving to a different state to take advantage of the best exemption offerings available.

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What Are the Connecticut Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Connecticut is one of 17 states that allows most residents to choose between its unique exemptions and federal exemptions. As you can’t “cherry pick” exemptions from both structures, it’s a good idea to compare how much property you can safeguard under both schemes. That way, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about whether to take advantage of Connecticut law or federal law when it comes to exemptions. Unless you’ve lived in Connecticut for less than 2 years, you can pick whichever structure is most financially advantageous for your unique situation. Detailed information concerning both options can be found below.

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What Are the Washington DC Bankruptcy Exemptions?

District of Columbia law allows Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers to apply either federal bankruptcy exemptions or exemptions unique to the District (including certain federal nonbankruptcy exemptions) to their property. This means that you can choose whichever exemption structure is more financially advantageous for your situation, although you may not “pick and choose” exemptions from both structures. The information listed below will help you to compare and contrast the pros and cons of each approach. Note however, that if you moved to the District of Columbia less than two years ago, you may be required to exempt property according to the state exemption laws of your prior state of residence.

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What Are the Iowa Bankruptcy Exemptions?

You may have heard about federal exemptions before, but you won’t need to worry about them when filing bankruptcy in Iowa. State law only allows Iowa residents to claim Iowa exemptions and doesn’t give filers the choice to apply federal bankruptcy exemptions to their property instead. This Iowa law isn’t an unusual approach, as only 17 states in the U.S. allow residents to choose between state-specific bankruptcy exemptions and exemption laws provided by the federal Bankruptcy Code. Note however that if you moved to Iowa within 2 years of filing for bankruptcy, you may be subject to a different set of exemption standards than long-time Iowa residents are.

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What Are the Mississippi Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Under Mississippi law, almost all Mississippi residents must apply state exemptions to their property, as Mississippi doesn’t allow filers to claim federal exemptions unless an exception for a certain kind of property is allowed under federal law. Mississippi isn’t alone in this approach, as only 17 states allow filers to apply federal bankruptcy exemptions to their property instead of state exemptions. The only scenario under which you’d claim anything other than Mississippi exemptions is if you moved to Mississippi less than two years ago. Because Mississippi residents only have one exemption model to apply to their assets, the process of claiming exemptions is relatively straightforward.

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What Are the Montana Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Montana is not one of the 17 states that allows residents to claim federal exemptions instead of state-specific ones. As a result, as long as you’ve lived in Montana for at least two years, you’ll need to claim state-specific exemptions (as detailed by Montana law) to your property when filing for Montana bankruptcy. This makes the process of claiming bankruptcy exemptions fairly straightforward, as you don’t have to choose between the federal exemption scheme and the Montana exemptions. Simply claim every exemption that applies to you under state bankruptcy law and you’ll keep as much of your property safe from your trustee as possible.

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What Are the North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions?

One straightforward thing about filing for bankruptcy in North Dakota is that it doesn’t allow residents to claim federal bankruptcy exemptions. Although 17 jurisdictions in the United States do allow residents to apply federal exemptions to their property, North Dakota law doesn’t provide a choice between federal exemptions and state exemptions. Therefore, unless you moved to North Dakota less than 2 years ago, you don’t have to worry about comparing state law with federal law in this regard. Simply evaluate the North Dakota exemptions listed below and claim them if they apply to you. However, if you have qualifying assets, you will also want to take the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions into consideration in addition to the state-specific structure.

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What Are the New Hampshire Bankruptcy Exemptions?

New Hampshire residents have a choice to make when claiming bankruptcy exemptions. As long as you’ve lived in New Hampshire for a minimum of 2 years, you can choose to claim either New Hampshire exemptions or exemptions under federal law. You aren’t allowed to pick and choose exemptions from both structures, so you’ll want to carefully compare and contrast the values of each (listed below) to determine whether state bankruptcy exemptions or federal bankruptcy exemptions will protect more of the property you own. Just remember that not all exempt property is created equal. For example, if you’re a homeowner, you may want to take advantage of a superior homestead exemption, even if a particular approach offers less in the way of personal property exemptions. Note that you can take advantage of federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, even if you choose to apply New Hampshire exemptions to your case.

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What Are the Rhode Island Bankruptcy Exemptions?

One important decision you’ll need to make when filling out your bankruptcy petition involves choosing which exemption statutes you’ll apply to your property. Rhode Island bankruptcy law allows residents (who have lived in the state for a minimum of 2 years) to claim either state exemptions or federal exemptions. It’s possible that you can exempt the same amount of property under both schemes, depending on what you own. But it’s also possible that you’ll benefit significantly by choosing one approach over the other. As you aren’t allowed to “cherry pick” exemptions from both structures, it’s important to compare and contrast the exemption types (including the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions) and amounts allowed under both schemes. That way, you can make an informed decision regarding which will serve you best.

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What Are the South Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions?

South Dakota is among the majority of states that doesn’t allow residents to claim federal bankruptcy exemptions. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia allow residents to choose from their state exemption structure or the federal exemption structure per the federal Bankruptcy Code. As South Dakota does not, this makes the process of claiming exempt property more straightforward because you won’t have to compare two schemes to see which is more advantageous. As long as you’ve lived in South Dakota for a minimum of two years, you’ll apply state bankruptcy law and federal nonbankruptcy exemptions only when claiming exemptions for your personal property.

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What Are the Vermont Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Vermont is one of 16 states (and the District of Columbia) that allows residents to choose between claiming the state-specific exemptions (coupled with some federal nonbankruptcy exemptions) or the federal exemptions. Each structure is independent, meaning that you can only claim one or the other and may not “cherry pick” those that you like best from each approach. It’s important to compare each structure to determine which will benefit your situation more completely. Note that if you have lived in Vermont for less than 2 years, you may need to apply bankruptcy exemption law from your state of prior residence.

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What Are the West Virginia Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Claiming bankruptcy exemptions is straightforward for West Virginia residents because the state doesn’t allow filers to claim federal bankruptcy exemptions. A minority of states allow their residents to choose between applying state exemptions and federal exemptions to their property. However, because West Virginia is part of the majority, you’ll only need to worry about applying state-specific exemptions and federal nonbankruptcy exemptions to your assets. Take note however, that if you moved to West Virginia less than two years ago, you may need to deal with exempt property matters according to the law of your state of previous residence.

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What Are the Wyoming Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Some states allow their residents to choose between claiming state exemptions and federal exemptions; Wyoming is not one of these states. As a result, you don’t have to worry about learning more about federal bankruptcy exemptions. While much of your case will be impacted by the federal Bankruptcy Code and federal law, this is one area where you’ll generally only need to pay attention to state law, with a few exceptions. The only exception to this rule comes into play if you’ve lived in Wyoming for less than two years. In this case, you may need to claim exemptions according to the federal Bankruptcy Code or the law of your previous state of residence.

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What is bankruptcy fraud?

Bankruptcy fraud is a broad term that describes a variety of actions that filers sometimes take to get an unfair advantage. Depending on what form that fraud takes, it’s considered a crime and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a (non-dischargeable) fine of up to $250,000. This article will explore some common types of bankruptcy fraud and provide you with some guidance on how you can avoid making choices that - while perfectly normal and legal generally - might rise to the level of bankruptcy fraud.

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What Are the Utah Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Utah law does not allow residents to choose between claiming state-specific exemptions and federal exemptions. Instead, Utah Code specifies that residents who have lived in the state for at least two years must apply Utah exemptions to their property. While some states allow their residents to apply the federal structure of exemptions to their assets, Utah doesn’t, which makes the process of identifying exempt property and exemption values available to you more straightforward. All you need to remember is that to protect as much of your property as you can while you’re seeking debt relief and laying the groundwork for a fresh start, you’ll need to claim as many Utah exemptions to your property as are available and relevant to your situation.

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What Are the Arkansas Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Most states only allow residents to apply their specific state’s exemptions to their property. However, Arkansas is one of 17 states that allows most residents to choose between the federal exemption scheme and exemptions allowed by Arkansas law. You can only apply one structure to your case, so it’s important to compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of each approach before committing to one or the other. As long as you’ve lived in Arkansas for at least 2 years, you can choose whichever approach will allow you broader bankruptcy protection for your property.

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What Are the Kentucky Bankruptcy Exemptions?

The exemption amounts available to you will depend on whether you choose to apply Kentucky bankruptcy exemptions or federal exemptions to your property. Kentucky law allows residents who have lived in the state for at least 2 years to choose between the Kentucky exemption structure and the federal exemption structure. You can’t “pick and choose” between structures, so it’s important to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each before deciding which will be most financially beneficial for your situation. Below, you’ll find detailed information about each structure so that you can determine which will be most advantageous for your family.

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What Are the South Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Only 17 states allow their residents to choose between claiming state exemptions and federal bankruptcy exemptions. South Carolina is not one of these states. Instead, South Carolina law provides residents with state-specific exemptions and does not allow its residents to claim federal exemptions. While some federal law in the Bankruptcy Code does influence how some South Carolina exemptions are structured, the kinds of exempt property filers can claim and the exemption amounts that apply to bankruptcy cases are state-specific. It’s important to note that if you have lived in South Carolina for less than 2 years, you may not be able to claim South Carolina’s exemptions to your property.

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What Are the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Massachusetts law allows for most residents to choose between applying federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions to property that could be affected by the bankruptcy process. The only time that this choice is not available is if a filer is a new Massachusetts resident and has lived in the state for less than 2 years. By examining each approach below, you can determine whether your case will be served best by applying Massachusetts exemptions or by claiming those available under federal law. Oftentimes, both schemes do an equally adequate job of safeguarding a filer’s property. But sometimes, it’s advantageous to choose one option over the other.

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What are the Maine Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Maine does not allow its residents to use federal bankruptcy exemptions at this time. While 17 states do allow most residents to choose between their state’s bankruptcy exemption structure and federal exemptions, Maine is one of the 33 states that requires residents to use Maine exemptions only. This means that if you’re filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maine, as long as you’ve lived in the state for a minimum of 2 years, you’ll only be applying Maine bankruptcy exemptions to your property (except where state bankruptcy law allows for the limited use of very specific federal exemptions as add-ons).

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What are the Oklahoma Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Identifying available bankruptcy exemptions is relatively straightforward in Oklahoma, because state law doesn’t allow residents to claim federal bankruptcy exemptions. While 17 states do allow residents to choose between state and federal exemptions, Oklahoma does not. As a result, if you have lived in Oklahoma for at least two years, the bankruptcy court will only allow you to claim Oklahoma’s unique state exemptions. You can learn about each of the exemptions available to you in the information listed below. As you’re reading this information, jot down any questions that it inspires so that you can reference them easily if you choose to meet with a bankruptcy attorney.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

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