Since 1998, The De Leo Law Firm, LLC has helped individuals and businesses start over in their financial lives, using the U.S. bankruptcy laws. We work with debtors, creditors and trustees. Our experience and knowledge make us your first choice for legal bankruptcy representation on the North Shore and in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.
If you live in Saint Tammany and the surrounding areas and need Personal or Business Bankruptcy representation, call The De Leo Law Firm for a free initial consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in Old Mandeville at 800 Ramon Street, Mandeville, Louisiana.
Here are some terms to help you better understand bankruptcy matters:
- Unsecured debt means bills that are not backed by collateral, like medical bills, charge accounts, overdraft fees, payday loans, etc.
- Secured debt means debt that has collateral, from mortgaged homes, and loans secured by automobiles or other property.
- Debts unqualified for bankruptcy are those which you obtained by fraud, including lying on an application, student loans, alimony and child support, fines and restitution or some taxes. These must be repaid in full and these debts will remain your obligation after bankruptcy.
We will discuss the following kinds of bankruptcy with you, called “Chapters” of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, what they mean in your situation and which assets you can retain.
- Chapter 7: Also called a “liquidation”. Allows the full discharge of the unsecured financial obligations of individuals or businesses. Fewer people now qualify for this chapter since the laws changed in 2005, however, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common case filed in Louisiana. Individuals whose primary debt is based upon a business loss or failure will qualify for Chapter 7 relief regardless of the amount of your income.
- Chapter 11: Designed for businesses or individuals who have debt that exceeds the amount allowed in Chapter 13, allows repayment of debts over time. It is complicated and costs quite a bit. If your business is a “DBA”, or a a sole proprietorship, Chapter 13 may be a better choice.
- Chapter 13: Traditionally known as the Wage Earner’s Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 allows a debtor to come to an agreement with the court that works with you and your attorney to structure payments you can afford over a period of 36 to 60 months. After repaying the included debt payment, you are out of debt. With Chapter 13, you can keep more assets and will stop all collection efforts, including foreclosures, repossessions and garnishments. You can keep all your property (even non-exempt property) but will pay a higher monthly payment to the Chapter 13 trustee. In most cases, you do not have to pay your debts in full in Chapter 13.
- $35,000 of equity in your home
- All pension plans, individual retirement accounts, 401k accounts, annuity accounts, and tax-exempt contributions made to retirement plans qualified under the Internal Revenue Code if made more than one year prior to the case filing
- $7,500 of equity in a motor vehicle
- Workers Compensation benefits, but not if cashed out. Refer to Employer's Manual.
- Cemetery plots
- All your clothing
- Federal earned income tax credit
- Most of your household furnishings and electronics
- One firearm worth less than $500
- Your wedding ring worth less than $5,000
- Numerous additional valuables and items...
Assets you keep: Bankruptcy law is not designed to make you indigent or a ward of the state. In fact, under Louisiana law you are allowed to typically retain the following assets even after you file bankruptcy:
Contact The De Leo Law Firm to begin working together with us to make your financial life healthier. Call us today at: (985) 727-1664, or fill out the contact form at the top of our website.