There are many contributing factors that are associated with financial adversity. Some common reasons include personal debt, illness, divorce, home foreclosure, or losing one’s job.
In fact, the average credit card debt in Wyoming is a whopping $5,364 per person. In addition, foreclosure rates are also as staggering, one out of every 3,137 WY homes is currently in foreclosure.
If you can relate to the scenarios above, then you are probably battling other personal problems that come with dealing with debt. The fear of losing your vehicle, house or your money can drain a person emotionally. You may have even considered Declaring Bankruptcy .
If you are thinking “Should I File Bankruptcy?” you are surprisingly not alone. Just under a million people file bankruptcy each year in the United States. Bankruptcy is a tool created by the US Government to help struggling Americans find relief from uncontrollable debt. You may want to consider filing bankruptcy if it’s best for you.
What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy offers people the time to resolve their debt while still working with lenders in a legal capacity. It is started by an individual filing a Petition with their nearest bankruptcy court. The Petition can be filed by a person or married couples jointly. When the bankruptcy is complete, the filer will ‘exit’ with a fresh new start.
Throughout the bankruptcy process, a trustee is appointed to oversee the particulars of the matter. His or her duties differ and depend on whether the person has filed for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Did you know that Wyoming ranks #37 in the nation for bankruptcy filings. In 2017 the number of personal bankruptcies was approximately 169 out of every 100,000 residents.
What Is The Difference Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13?
Individuals or couples in Wyoming, who claim bankruptcy, can choose to file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Want to know the difference? Look below for more information
The trustee of the bankruptcy will liquidate the assets, such as cars, homes, and other property of value in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy proceeding, In exchange for dissolving all past due debts.
The proceeds collected during liquidation will be used to repay debtors that were listed on the bankruptcy filing.
If you have the means to pay some of your debts, a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan may work for you. You will be allowed to retain your valuable assets over a 3- to 5-year period.
In order to determine which type of bankruptcy a person can file, he or she will have to determine their ability to repay using the Bankruptcy Means Test.
What Is A Bankruptcy Means Test?
The objective of the Bankruptcy Means Test is to determine who is eligible to apply for debt forgiveness through a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. It takes into account your:
- income and expenses
- household size and composition
- debt-to-income ratio
For those who do not qualify for a Chapter 7 filing, he or she will be able to file for Chapter 13, as described above.
What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions?
Specific states have certain exclusions that are enacted by congress as federal bankruptcy exemptions for filers. These exemptions will determine what you are able to retain throughout and after Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 situation, the exemptions will determine what amount you will have to pay certain financial institutions in your repayment plan.
- Your home, including house trailers, up to $20,000. Tenancies by the entirety are exempt without limit as to debts of one spouse. Spouse or child of deceased owner may claim exemption.
- Clothing and wedding rings up to $2,000 total.
- Household articles, furniture, bedding and food up to $4,000 per person in the home; school books, pictures, and bible; motor vehicle up to $5,000; and burial plot.
- Medical savings account contributions.
- Pre-paid funeral contracts.
- The greater of the following: 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage or minimum of 75% of disposable weekly earnings.
- Wages of inmates in adult community corrections programs.
- Wages of inmates on work release.
- Earnings of national guard members.
- Wages of inmates in correctional industries programs.
- Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans).
- IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,283,025.
- Private or public retirement funds or accounts, including IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs, including inherited accounts.
- Public employees.
- Highway officers, criminal investigators, and game and fish wardens.
- Death benefits of firefighters.
- Police officers.
- Crime victims’ compensation.
- Workers’ compensation.
- Unemployment compensation.
- General assistance.
Tools of Trade
- Motor vehicle, tools, implements, team and stock in trade to $4,000; library and implements of a professional up to $4,000.
- Life insurance proceeds.
- Disability benefits if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.
- Group life or disability policy or proceeds.
- Annuity contract proceeds up to $350 per month.
- Life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.
- Fraternal benefit society benefits.
- Liquor licenses and malt beverage permits.
Want to know if you can include Student Loans in Bankruptcy or Medical Bills in Bankruptcy? Check out our Bankruptcy FAQ’s section.
Filing Bankruptcy Alone vs. Filing With An Attorney
You are not required by law to hire an attorney to declare relief. People are permitted to represent him or herself as a pro se debtor. You will simply contact the local bankruptcy court and obtain all forms and requirements directly through them. Filing alone is not an easy task.
Filing Bankruptcy without an Attorney
A basic Chapter 7 proceeding that doesn’t have a lot of debtors or assets may be easy to manage on your own.
A basic bankruptcy that doesn’t involve an attorney might look like:.
- Your income is below the state median;
- You have no property;
- Your debts will be considered dis-chargeable.
Working With An Attorney
Most of the time, it is usually in one’s best interest to work with a bankruptcy attorney. A bankruptcy attorney is there to represent you and not in the interest of creditors.
An attorney is also accustomed with exemption laws. Plus, they can come up with creative strategies to keep your assets through practical repayment strategies that are fair to everyone involved.
While you may have the fight and ability to manage a Bankruptcy on your own, it tends to make things a lot easier on an already stressful situation, especially when there is so much at stake.
What Does Bankruptcy Include?
Once you file for bankruptcy in WY, the courts put in place an order called an Automatic Stay. This order will stop debt collection calls, wage garnishments, and additional claims. Keep in mind that payments regarding child support and criminal cases will still need to be made during this time.
In any event, Bankruptcy will be able to include:
- credit card debt
- protection from eviction
- avoidance of foreclosure
- utility bills
- medical expenses
Again, unless you are filing a complex Chapter 13 case, you will lose all assets associated with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection. You will, however, be able to prevent any and all collections from occurring as long as they were incurred before the date of filing and discharge.
Final Thoughts And Considerations On Filing For Bankruptcy In Wyoming
As you can see, there a lot of information associated with successfully filing for bankruptcy and then exiting it unscathed or satisfied. Only a licensed bankruptcy attorney can guide you through this arduous process, particularly when it comes to complex cases. Be sure to hire someone you respect and trust.
Bankruptcy Courts In WyomingEwing T. Kerr Federal Building and United States Courthouse
111 South Wolcott Street
Wyoming Bankruptcy Court
Additional Wyoming Resources
Foreclosure Help Program
Disability SSDI Benefits