Bankruptcy in Alaska

Are you contemplating bankruptcy or hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Alaska? Are you tired of creditors calling for payments you can’t make? Maybe looking for a way to get out of debt and have you exhausted all other options? Then bankruptcy might be the solution you seek. It is a legal option that can erase a portion or all of your debts.

Types of Bankruptcy in Alaska

Bankruptcy is a legal process that helps individuals and businesses get a fresh financial start. It eliminates a portion of or all of their debts or financial liabilities. In Alaska, to be approved, individuals must prove they have a hardship that prevents them from staying current on their financial obligations. Keep in mind that not all debts qualify. Some liabilities, such as child support arrears, delinquent taxes, alimony, and student loans generally do not qualify for discharge. Consumers who find themselves falling behind in debt can file either Chapter 7, 11 or 13. To determine which option is right for you, you’ll need to assess your goals, assets, and income. You should also consider working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

In Alaska, a bankruptcy filing will occur in the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Alaska.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Many people find Chapter 7 to be the right solution for their circumstances because it provides them with the opportunity to start over financially. However, before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should thoroughly assess your income and ability to repay what you owe. You should also speak with a bankruptcy attorney in Alaska who can help you to decide if a liquidation plan is right for you.

Typically, individuals approved for Chapter 7 lack stable income or have experienced a change in circumstances that has resulted in an inability to manage their debts. Though Chapter 7 erases debts, the tradeoff is you may have to give up certain possessions, such as your home, car or some other assets. However, once you file your petition, an automatic stay goes into effect that requires all collection activity against you like foreclosures and garnishments, to stop temporarily. However, the automatic stay does not prevent all collection attempts. For example, if you owe child support or restitution for a criminal case, you are still liable for those payments.

According to the District of Alaska US Bankruptcy Court, the filing of a Chapter 7 petition automatically “stays” debt collection actions against the debtor. While the stay is in effect, creditors cannot bring lawsuits, make wage garnishments, or even make telephone calls demanding payment. In most cases, the stay remains in effect until the judge closes the bankruptcy.

If the debtor’s current monthly income is more than the Alaska median, the debtor must take a Means Test to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As well, individual debtors must file a Certificate of Credit Counseling and complete a Debtor Education course prior to bankruptcy finalization. The United States Courts provide a list of these courses that have been approved for use in Alaska.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is more complex than other types of bankruptcy. It is often used by businesses and certain types of people. It allows petitioners to restructure their debts with a reorganization plan, so they are easier to manage over a determined length of time, usually four to 18 months. The main benefit of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that it does not require petitioners to sell off or liquidate their assets to pay what they owe. It does allow debtors to negotiate with their creditors a reorganization plan that enables them to stay current on their debts moving forward.

According to the District of Alaska US Bankruptcy Court, creditors are allowed to vote on your debt reorganization plan. The plan must then be approved by the Court. The District of Alaska also provides a list of Filing Requirements that must be completed. Failing to do so may result in your case being dismissed. Some of the original forms you must file include:

  • Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing For Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income
  • Creditors Who Have Unsecured Claims
  • Creditors Who Have Claims Secured by Your Property

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt restructuring or wage earners plan. In Alaska after you file, the courts will assign a trustee to examine your liabilities and assets and ability to pay bills. Unlike other types of bankruptcy, Chapter 13 involves you restructuring your debt with a three to five-year repayment plan. The flexibility of this repayment plan will depend on what property you want to keep and how steady your income is. It may also give you the opportunity to have some or most of your debts discharged.

According to the District of Alaska US Bankruptcy Court, filing for Chapter 13 in Alaska can start with completing a Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy. In addition, you will need a repayment plan, known as a Chapter 13 Plan. This can protect you from losing your home, but the plan must be approved by the court.

Other forms and information to file with the court include:

  • Statement About Your Social Security Numbers
  • Filing Fees
  • Chapter 13 Calculation of Your Disposable Income
  • Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period

The Bankruptcy Process in Alaska

There is never an ideal time to declare bankruptcy. However, if you are unable to pay off what you owe within five years, filing for bankruptcy can help you to lessen the negative impact on your situation and help you get back on track.

In Alaska to begin the filing process, gather all of your financial records, including monthly expenses, debts, assets and annual income. This information is crucial to give the courts an accurate picture of your circumstances. Failure to provide all necessary information can result in your petition being denied.

In some cases, Alaska property owners can find exemptions from bankruptcy liquidation. Both Federal and Alaska exemptions are available, but the two cannot be mixed. Alaska Statute provides a homestead exemption for your principal residence. However, the value of the homestead exemption may not exceed $72,900.

Other exemptions that may be available to Alaska residents include:

  • Professional tools and books
  • Life Insurance
  • Liquor licenses
  • Jewelry

At least six months before you file for bankruptcy, eliminate unnecessary spending. Do not run up the balances on your credit accounts. You’ll also need to complete an approved credit counseling course, usually online or over the phone. Credit counseling is necessary to help you learn financial literacy and help you learn better financial habits. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to include in your filing. If you don’t have the certificate of completion from the credit counseling course that you took, the courts will reject your bankruptcy petition.

Work With an Experienced Alaska Lawyer

Hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer in Alaska during this process can help reduce the costly risks of self-representation in court. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer understands state and federal bankruptcy laws. He or she can help you understand which laws apply to your case, especially which debts that can be discharged or can’t be discharged. An experienced Alaska attorney can also offer you guidance to improve the outcome of your case.

Keep in mind that there are debt management alternatives and financial resources that may benefit you more than bankruptcy, such as debt consolidation. Though bankruptcy is an attractive solution, it is best as a last resort. Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Alaska can guide you through the entire bankruptcy process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Alaska state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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