Costs and Benefits of Bankruptcy Reaffirmation
- December 10, 2013
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Individuals usually choose to file bankruptcy to discharge debts that they simply are unable to pay but, because the process carries a risk of having to forfeit certain property they wish to retain, people may wish to reaffirm some of their debt as a means to keep certain items. It should be duly noted that bankruptcy reaffirmation comes both with costs and benefits. Filing for bankruptcy is usually a last resort for most people and for the vast majority of people the process allows them to start their financial lives anew and debt free. The first issue is that many are concerned that a bankruptcy filing will ruin their credit, however, those considering bankruptcy are likely substantially behind in their bills and their credit is already in bad shape. With a fresh start from bankruptcy, as long as filers begin making all payments on time thereafter, the former debtors will reverse the downward spiral and their credit will improve. Second, depending upon whether the debtor files for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, a great deal of their assets and property may be at risk of being taken by the bankruptcy trustee to sell to satisfy some of the debts. If a debtor decides that he or she would like to reaffirm a debt, they are effectively removing a particular debt from the bankruptcy discharge proceeding so that it may never be discharged. The reason that a debtor may elect to reaffirm a debt is so that he or she may keep a particular asset or piece of property. For instance, many people need a car to get to and from work and they do not want to risk losing the car in the bankruptcy proceedings, therefore they choose to reaffirm the debt they owe on the vehicle so that they do not lose it. The obvious benefit of reaffirming a particular debt is the debtor keeps that property. Upon reaffirmation, the debtor will immediately need to continue to make full and regular payments on the affirmed debt and satisfy any back payments on the debt that are owed that the time of the reaffirmation. When a debt is reaffirmed and thereby removed from the bankruptcy, the debtor may not later cease paying or pay late and may not reopen the bankruptcy to include the asset. As bankruptcy may be filed only once every 7 years, it is critical that you seek the advice of experienced counsel in the event you are considering bankruptcy and reaffirmation of certain debts. For more information regarding reaffirmation, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, foreclosure or any other consumer debt issues visit TheNJBankruptcyAttorney.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.