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Bankruptcy in Massachusetts

Who Can File Bankruptcy in Massachusetts?

There are many people who believe that you must meet certain income requirements in order to be eligible to file bankruptcy in Massachusetts.  You will be glad to know that this is not the case.  There are currently no income guidelines for the ability to file bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy relief is available to people of all different income levels.  What is required in order to file bankruptcy in Massachusetts is:

-you must live in, work in, or own property in the state of Massachusetts

-you must not have filed bankruptcy in the last 6 years

-you must participate in credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy

What Do I Need To Know Before Filing For Bankruptcy in Massachusetts?

Before filing for bankruptcy in Massachusetts, you will first need to determine whether you will be filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Provided that you are eligible to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to discuss which of these proceedings is in your best interest with your attorney.  If you are not eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, you will have no choice but to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  In order to determine whether or not you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, your income must be compared to that of the average income in your area.  If your income is below average, you will be allowed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  It is very important that you honestly disclose all of your financial information during this time.  If you attempt to hide income in order to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you could lose your chance to file bankruptcy all together.

What Type of Debts Can Be Discharged As Part of a Bankruptcy Proceeding in Massachusetts?

As part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy settlement, you will be given the opportunity to discharge all non secured debts which were accrued prior to you filing for bankruptcy.  Any debts which occurred after your original filing date will not be eligible for discharge as part of these proceeding.  This rule is in place to ensure people do not use their bankruptcy case as a free pass to collect unnecessary debt.

Will I lose my house and car if I file for bankruptcy in Massachusetts?

As long as your home and car do not exceed the property exemption laws in the state of Massachusetts, you will not lose these items as part of your bankruptcy settlement.  The property exemption laws in Massachusetts are as follows:

-Homestead exemption of up to $500,000 (this exemption is reduced to $125,000 for residents of less than 40 months)

-Up to $700 in equity in one motor vehicle

-100% of apparel and bedding

-Up to $3,000 in household furnishings and personal property with no one item to exceed $200

-Up to $500 in tools

-Up to $500 in materials which are necessary to your trade

-Up to $125 dollars in savings

Do I really need to hire a Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney to represent me?

You are not required to hire a bankruptcy attorney in order to receive bankruptcy relief however, it is strongly recommended.  The bankruptcy system is a very complex system which requires you to make several important decisions during the course of a bankruptcy case.  Making the right decisions is crucial to ensuring your assets are protected, and that you get the fresh start that you are looking for.  In order to ensure you are properly educated regarding these decisions, you will need to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

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