Peace on Earth, Good Will to All: Merry Christmas!
Bankruptcy can bring you financial peace. And in that process you will likely be treated with respect and good will.
A Tough Time of Year
This season of gift-giving is hard when money is tight. It’s very hard when you can’t give to your kids and other loved ones what you would like to give.
This season of hospitality is hard when you want to be generous in sharing your home and food but don’t have the means to do so.
The goal of bankruptcy is to give you relief from your debts and from that, give you peace in your life.
Peace in your head, so that you don’t toss and turn at night because you don’t know where to turn. Instead you can focus your thoughts on putting your talents to work in getting ahead.
Peace in your body, so that you are not constantly worn out by stress and overwork and unhealthy eating. Instead you can heal yourself through adequate rest, appropriate exercise, and calmer meals.
Peace in your heart, so that you are not constantly reminded of past mistakes and misfortunes. Instead you can again have hopes and dreams, and have the motivation to work towards them.
Bankruptcy Is a Respectful Process
Perhaps one of the biggest unspoken reasons that people don’t want to look into filing bankruptcy is because they are concerned about how they will be treated in the process. If you are being chased by collection agencies, your wages are being garnished, and are facing a vehicle repossession or home foreclosure, you probably don’t feel the greatest. At that point getting involved in a process that sounds humiliating and judgmental is the last thing you’d want to do.
But the people you’d run into in the bankruptcy process are actually quite understanding and compassionate.
Your Bankruptcy Attorney
Attorneys who specialize in representing people file bankruptcy often chose this field of law because they genuinely like to help people and to do so in a very concrete way. They are motivated by the satisfaction of turning your difficult life into a much better one. They have no reason to be judgmental or unkind, and most won’t be.
Your attorney serves you. His or her job is to help you solve your problems and show you the legal tools for doing so. You’re not told what to do—you decide what to do based on your own goals and on the available tools for achieving them. You are treated with respect as the decision-maker, as the person in charge of your life.
The Bankruptcy Trustee—Chapter 7
If you decide to file a Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” the main other person you’ll encounter—usually for a total of only 10 minutes or less—is the trustee assigned to your case. His or her main job is usually very simple—to verify that you don’t have any assets that are not “exempt”—protected from liquidation on behalf of your creditors.
Even though the trustee is legally an adversary, usually the meeting (at the so-called “meeting of creditors”) is cordial and very straightforward. As long as you’ve been appropriately prepared by your attorney, there should be no surprises and the event will be almost pleasant, if only from the relief of having it go as smoothly as your attorney kept telling you it would.
The Bankruptcy Trustee—Chapter 13
If you decide instead to file a Chapter 13 “adjustment of debts,” you will be dealing directly or indirectly with quite a different kind of trustee. The Chapter 13 trustee processes your monthly plan payments and distributes the money to your creditors according to the court-approved plan creditors during the course of your 3-to-5-year-long case.
But he or she has a number of other roles. This trustee is also your adversary, here in that he or she oversees your case to see that you pay as much as is legally required to your creditors during the course of the payment plan. But the trustee is also to some degree supposed to help debtors achieve the goal of completing their cases successfully. Chapter 13 trustees certainly prefer cases to be successfully completed, and some are more proactive in this. Talk with your attorney about how you can work with your particular trustee towards this end.
Although the bankruptcy system serves many goals, on the consumer side in practical terms it is strongly oriented towards giving people real relief from their financial problems. The system is designed to help you.
Sure, there are all kinds of rules and procedures designed to keep you honest and to be fair to creditors as well. But overall most people filing bankruptcy find that everybody they encounter in the process is considerate and often even kind, and wants to help them get the relief that they need.
You will likely be treated with good will as you get financial peace and a fresh start.