At Express Bankruptcy Solutions, we have helped hundreds of individuals and families in Massachusetts regain control of their financial future with a successful bankruptcy filing.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a fantastic legal option that provides debt relief for qualified individuals and families. Although Chapter 7 does not enable you to restructure your secured debt or catch up on past-due payments or taxes, a properly prepared and filed Ch. 7 petition experienced can help Massachusetts residents discharge unsecured debt, providing them with a clean slate and a financial fresh start.
Determining who qualifies for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Persons with income below or near their state median income may qualify for Chapter 7. This determination is made by a calculation known as the Means Test. The means test is complex and is used to determine which type of a bankruptcy you may qualify for. It estimates your ability to repay your existing debt and takes an experienced bankruptcy attorney like the attorneys at Express Bankruptcy Solutions to perform the test.
In the first part of the means test, your income is compared to a median income as defined by Massachusetts law. If your income is above the median, the second part compares your income with your outstanding debt. If you have enough excess income above your basic expenses, you typically qualify to begin the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process.
How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works
As in any bankruptcy, a person (or business) filing Chapter 7 must list all assets, all liabilities, disclose average monthly income and expenses and answer question pertaining to your financial affairs. In personal Massachusetts bankruptcy, most or all of a family’s assets are exempt – which means that you get to keep them. After the petition is filed with the Court, a bankruptcy trustee is assigned to the case. The trustee is a person appointed to oversee the case. The trustee will take and liquidate any non-exempt property, liquidate it and disburse the proceeds to creditors.
All debtors must attend a Meeting of Creditors between 20 and 30 days from the day the case was filed. This is often referred to as a “341 meeting”. Your attorney will be with you and must ask you a list of questions about your financial affairs. The trustee will also ask similar questions. In most personal Chapter 7s, creditors do not appear; however, in business cases, creditors often do appear. Creditors can also ask you questions.
In most personal Chapter 7s, this meeting will take about 5 minutes; business cases can last much longer. Approximately 75 days after this meeting, if no objections are filled (generally, none are filed) the Court will issue your discharge – which releases you from personal liability for all dischargeable debts. In a Chapter 7, there is no court ordered repayment plan.
Chapter 7 fillings generally quicker, easier and less expensive than a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11. If your only financial problems are general unsecured debt, and you qualify for Chapter 7, it is usually going to be the best choice.
As Massachusetts bankruptcy attorneys, we have the skills and experience to help you find the answers you need and to work toward financial freedom. By the end of your free consultation with us, you will have a clear understanding of whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy or another solution is right for you—and exactly what to do next.
Call us at 978-851-4000 to assess your situation and guide you toward the appropriate financial solution. We are conveniently located in Tewksbury near Rte. 93 and Rte. 495. We service clients throughout Massachusetts.