Stop Creditor Harassment and Discharge Debt: Usually filing for bankruptcy puts an automatic stay on most collection activities. This allows our lawyers to prevent creditors from making harassing phone calls, work to get your repossessed property returned , and put a stop on wage garnishments.

Depending on which chapter is filed, most types of debt can be eliminated. Our lawyers work with your creditors to do away with medical bills and credit card debt. We offer valuable advice and assistance for clients concerned about student loans and expenses.

Protect Yourself From Unethical Practices: A few precautionary notes: Watch out for lawyers who claim to be “experienced,” but are actually new to bankruptcy law practice, although they may be experienced in other areas. Likewise, watch out for mortgage industry agencies that do not have your best interests at the heart of their lending practices. Finally, watch out for unscrupulous debt counseling, debt settlement or debt consolidation enterprises that create problems rather than providing true debt relief. Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC has the level of experience and the genuine answers that our clients seek.

As a leading Chicago Bankruptcy Law Firm, our lawyers have more than 50 years of bankruptcy experience that we utilize to help you eliminate debt in Chicago and its suburbs. Our focus is on bankruptcy and only bankruptcy, which makes us highly familiar with local regulations, trustees, judges and creditors.

The Bankruptcy Process
Bankruptcy issues can be confusing and financial warning signs can grow into bigger problems quickly. That is why we lay out a timeline designed for your situation. From choosing the right Chicago bankruptcy attorney to rebuilding your credit after filing , we answer all your questions and can help you decide if filing bankruptcy is right for you .

Chapter 7
Receive a fresh start by discharging all of your eligible debt.

Chapter 13
Individuals who can afford to pay some of their debt back can establish a repayment plan with Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 11
Also known as “business reorganization bankruptcy,” Chapter 11 permits a company to set up a repayment schedule, allowing for the retention of professional relationships and continuation of business operations.

Chapters 9, 12, and 15
 These chapters deal with bankruptcy options for farmers, fishermen, municipalities and cross-border cases.

Life After Bankruptcy
Foreclosure Assistance: If you want to prevent a foreclosure , filing for bankruptcy may be an option that could save your house. Our lawyers will provide you with the foreclosure information you require.

Chicago Car Repossession Lawyers Defending You In Bankruptcy

Stop A Car Repo Today • Chicago Debt Relief Attorneys

Even if your vehicle has already been repossessed, you may still be able to get it back. Whether your vehicle has been repossessed or is in danger of repossession, act quickly to preserve your interests. You are operating under a strict timeframe — speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

At Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC, we are focused exclusively on providing debt relief and bankruptcy services in Chicago, Illinois. Our lawyers offer experienced, cost-effective and personalized service, creating strategies suited to fit each unique situation. Call 888-542-1900 or contact us online for a free consultation with an attorney at our firm.

Repossession in Illinois. If you are 31 days behind on payments, your car (or other property) can be repossessed. After repossession, you have 20 days until the car can be sold at auction. Usually, the car is sold for two-thirds its value at most — and you will be expected to pay the balance. Stop Repossession with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop repossession instantly.

Even if your car has already been repossessed, we may be able to help you get it back. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works in part by allowing you to create a debt repayment plan to catch up on past payments for secured debts like car loans (if you want to keep your car, you will still have to pay for it). The instant you file for bankruptcy, an “automatic stay” usually takes effect — a court order forcing your creditors to stop all efforts at collecting on your debt. This will immediately stop repossession as well as foreclosure and wage garnishment.

If your car has been repossessed, the vehicle sold and the finance company is pursuing you to collect the balance owed, then Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the option for you as a Chapter 7 will discharge your liability on this debt.

If you are facing repossession, you should speak with an experienced lawyer to learn about your options and find out if bankruptcy is right for you. For a free consultation with an attorney at Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC, call 312-853-0200 or contact our offices online.

Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC has offices in Downtown Chicago, South Side Chicago, Calumet City, North Riverside/Berwyn, Northwest Side and Schaumburg.

In any type of bankruptcy, a debtor must declare all income, assets and debts. There is no opportunity to hold back a debt. You cannot keep a loan such as a loan from a family member or business partner in an attempt to keep the effects of the bankruptcy away from that creditor.

However, it is important to know that not all debts are the same in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Debts will be categorized by the bankruptcy trustee into three categories:

  • Priority debts, including debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy at all such as back child support and most taxes. These debts must be paid in full over the three- to five-year period of debt repayment that makes up a Chapter 13 bankruptcy debt reorganization plan.
  • Secured debts such as car loans and mortgages. These types of loans involve liens placed on the property. Unpaid back car loan payments or mortgage arrearages will be second priority in the debt reorganization.
  • Unsecured debts, including credit card debts and medical bills, are at the lowest priority for repayment in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In many cases, only a fraction of the total owed is repaid. A cash loan from a family member will usually fall in this category.

Keep in mind that once your debt discharge takes effect at the end of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment period, you will then be free to voluntarily repay any debts that were discharged in part or in whole.

Only three lawyers in Chicago are certified in consumer bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification*. Two are partners at Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC. We are prepared to advise you and guide you through bankruptcy with your best interests at the forefront.

Concerned About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Contact an Experienced Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC

Call or e-mail us to schedule a free initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

*The American Board of Certification is accredited by the American Bar Association and sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Commercial Law League of America. Federal law recognizes board certification in bankruptcy. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

In many ways, a married couple constitutes one legal and financial unit, but there are also many ways in which a wife and husband can operate separately in their financial lives.

  • Either spouse can apply for credit in his or her own name only.
  • Either spouse can start a business in his or her name only.
  • An inheritance may be considered separate rather than marital property.
  • Married people may choose to file income taxes jointly or separately.
  • Either spouse may declare bankruptcy without involvement of the other.

A generalized answer to the question of “Do we have to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy jointly?” is “No,” but there are some caveats. Naturally, a marriage will have an impact on a bankruptcy filing, whether or not both spouses file. For example, household income and expenses will include both spouses’ finances.

Also, any debt that is held jointly by both spouses will be discharged only for the person who files bankruptcy. The other spouse could be held liable for the entire debt by the creditor. In Illinois, this includes medical bills for either spouse. Illinois laws hold that medical expenses of either spouse or their dependents incurred while a couple is living together are joint debts of the two people. Therefore, in order to fully discharge medical debts in a bankruptcy, a married person will need to file together with the other spouse.

However, there are many circumstances in which married couples may not wish to file bankruptcy together, and sometimes this is the best decision when all factors are taken into consideration.

For example, a wife might not want to join in a bankruptcy filing, and she and her husband have $3,000 in joint credit card debts, in addition to other debts that are his alone. In this case, it may make perfect sense for the husband to file bankruptcy separately in order to eliminate the husband’s debt, even though this will mean that the wife will still be responsible for the $3,000 in joint credit card debts. Once the bankruptcy is complete and the Chapter 7 debt discharge is issued, the husband can join with the wife in repaying that debt.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney

Bring your questions regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy to our attention at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC. Only three lawyers in Chicago are certified in consumer bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification*. Two are partners at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC. Contact us to schedule a No Obligation Consultation.

*The American Board of Certification is accredited by the American Bar Association and sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Commercial Law League of America. Federal law recognizes board certification in bankruptcy. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC has offices in Downtown Chicago, South Side Chicago, Calumet City, North Riverside/Berwyn, Northwest Side and Schaumburg

Do I Have to Include All My Debts in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be wondering whether you have to include all your debts. Perhaps you owe money to a favorite uncle, to a business partner or to your family dentist. You may hope to avoid involving certain people in your bankruptcy at all. You might rather not even tell them that you are going to file bankruptcy – and you certainly do not want them to receive official notices from the bankruptcy court stating that you are off the hook with regard to those debts.

Will Your Bankruptcy Harm Important Relationships in Your Life?

Such concerns are understandable and are natural for people who are contemplating bankruptcy. You may believe that to renege on your promises will damage your relationships.

On the other hand, some of your debts may be attached to things that are special and important to you such as your fishing boat or your child’s musical instrument. So you wonder whether you can simply leave those debts off the list that you submit to the bankruptcy trustee and repay them as planned.

All Debts Must Be Included in Your Bankruptcy Filing

The truth about bankruptcy, however, is that you must include all debts to any debtor(s) anywhere in the world. Even your home mortgage and your car loan must be listed. Any debts that are dischargeable will most likely be discharged if your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is successful. Officially, those debts will cease to exist and your creditors (even your favorite uncle) will be banned from ever trying to collect on those debts.

In fact, however, once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is complete, you are free to direct your money wherever you wish. With a clean slate, you will still be able to repay an old debt if you wish (such as a loan from your uncle), with the understanding that the former creditor has no right to try to collect from you.

In some cases such as with your mortgage and/or car loan, you may elect to reaffirm a debt in order to avoid repossession of your property by the former creditor. Talk to an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy law attorney about how to position yourself most favorably when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Discuss Your Debts With an Experienced Chicago Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bring your tough questions to Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC with confidence. Remember: only three lawyers in Chicago are certified in consumer bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification*. Two are partners at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC. Contact us to schedule a No Obligation Consultation and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge at Billbusters, Borges and Wu, LLC.& Borges, LLC.

*The American Board of Certification is accredited by the American Bar Association and sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Commercial Law League of America. Federal law recognizes board certification in bankruptcy. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

  •        Motor vehicles or certain equity in them
  •        Clothing and household goods that are deemed necessary
  •        Pensions
  •        A portion of equity in a home or earned but unpaid wages
  •        Certain public benefits such as Social Security income and public assistance
  •        Tools associated with the person’s profession

Illinois enables debtors to opt out of federal exemptions and simply go by the state laws.  However, those laws place certain restrictions on some commonly exempt property. For example, state law dictates that only up to $15,000 in a home may be exempt from bankruptcy. The law also states that up to $2,400 in one car may be exempt and only up to $1,500 trade tools may be exempt.

Assets that are not exempt could possibly be converted. For example, nonexempt assets such as cash could be spent on items that would be considered necessary to living, such as rent or food. Additionally, an asset such as a boat or rental home could be sold, and that money could be used to purchase a vehicle.

The American Bar Association points out that while exemption planning is typically permissible, debtors should work with a professional because a misstep could result in getting charged with fraud. Leaving creditors with no real means of recovery could prompt a court to determine that the debtor engaged in fraudulent activity.

Chapter 11 enables you to reorganize your company. If you file as a debtor in possession, you will be able to continue business, though you will lose control over certain decisions, such as selling assets, entering into leases and expanding your operations.

As the U.S. Courts notes, there are several guidelines for people considering a chapter 11, and those are the following:

  •        You cannot have had a bankruptcy dismissal during the preceding 180 days.
  •        You must have received credit counseling within 180 days prior to filing.
  •        You must file a debt management plan with the court if you develop one during credit counseling.

Filing for chapter 11 can be either voluntary or involuntary. If you choose to file, you may file a petition along with your assets and liabilities, your income and expenditures, a financial statement and your contracts and leases that have not expired. You typically have four months to propose a reorganization plan, though the court may choose to extend that period of time. That plan must be feasible, fair and in the best interest of your creditors in order to be approved.

There are several potential outcomes to filing for chapter 11. Your case could be converted to a chapter 7 liquidation, or it could be dismissed if you do not file the appropriate paperwork. Working with a professional is ideal if you want to fully understand your options and the possible outcomes.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

As the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation points out, some common signs of a loan modification scam include the following:

  • The organization requests an upfront fee.
  • The organization wants you to sign over the deed to your home.
  • The organization states that you need to pay to participate in the federal “Making Home Affordable Plan” program
  • The organization says it can accept your mortgage payments.

Instead of falling for a scam, there are several other steps you can take to restructure your mortgage. First, you may be able to call the loan provider directly and simply ask about your options. In some cases, the provider may agree to give you more time to make payments or adjusting your interest rate. The sooner you place the call, the more likely the mortgage holder is to work with you.

You can also work with an accredited counselor. The IDFPR states that you should check with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to find an approved agency.

Our attorneys have years of experience navigating mortgage issues and foreclosure cases. We have successfully negotiated with lenders to help people stay in their homes. For more information on this topic, please visit our page regarding changes to your mortgage.

An offer in compromise is an agreement that enables you to pay the government less than what you owe. According to the IRS, you may be eligible for an offer in compromise if one of the following is true:

  •        You are disputing the amount that you owe.
  •        Your income and assets are less than the tax liability.
  •        Making the payment in full would lead to an economic hardship due to “exceptional circumstances.”

If you are able to pay off your tax debt through installments, you may not qualify for an offer in compromise.

Before requesting a settlement, you should be sure to file all your tax returns and make any mandatory estimated tax payments for the current year. The IRS also requests that business owners make the current quarter’s required federal tax deposits.

If you are granted an offer in compromise, you will have the option of making the payments in installments. These should be made in full and on time, or else the IRS could find you in default and mandate that you pay the full amount of the original debt.

For more information on this topic, please visit our page regarding paying your taxes.

In 2013, Champaign County put a mediation program in place to assist people facing foreclosure. The University of Illinois College of Law’s Community Preservation Clinic trained the staff and mediators there. Now, the clinic is working with officials in Macon County to launch a similar program.

The program would enable borrowers to meet with their lenders under the guidance of a trained mediator. During these meetings, everyone would work together to find a way to either rework or reinstate the mortgage loan. If the process does not work, the case could proceed to foreclosure.

The hope is that a grant for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office would help cover the cost of the program. The initial proposal has undergone several changes, including a new, tentative $75 fee to help pay for the program. Late in 2013, Macon County submitted paperwork to the Illinois Supreme Court for its approval. However, the high court has yet to give the program the green light.

Regardless of whether or not such a program is in place, anyone in Illinois should know that working with a mortgage lender is an option. People who have questions about this topic should speak to an attorney.

Source: Herald & Review, “Foreclosure mediation waits for Supreme Court OK,” Ryan Voyles, Jan. 18, 2016