Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is available to both individuals and businesses and is a court supervised liquidation of a debtor's non-exempt assets. Individual debtors can often keep all of their property when they file chapter 7 if all of their assets are protected by exemptions. Whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be the right choice for you will depend on many factors including your income, how much property you own and the amount of equity in your property.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are typically less time consuming and complicated than chapter 13 cases, but do not offer all of the benefits available in a chapter 13 case. If there are no, non-exempt assets for a chapter 7 trustee to liquidate, cases typically last less than six months. Even if the trustee does not sell any of a debtor's assets (a "no-asset" case), debtors still get the benefit of having certain debt discharged. Types of debt that can be discharged in chapter 7 include:
credit card debt
deficiency balances from a foreclosure or repossession
certain, older tax debt
most unsecured personal loans
obligations from leases or contracts
In order for individual debtors to qualify to file under chapter 7, they first must pass the "means test." This test focuses on debtors' household income and whether debtors have sufficient income to repay their creditors. Even if debtors earn too much income to file under chapter 7, they still may be eligible for relief under other provisions of the bankruptcy code, including chapter 13.
To learn more about what property can be protected by exemptions, please click here.