Correcting the Common Misconceptions About Filing Bankruptcy

By: Jon Arnold

While no one wants to find themselves contemplating bankruptcy, sometimes factors beyond our control make it seem unavoidable. However, there are actually several options other than filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a huge, drastic step, and should only be considered as the last option. You should first investigate all your other options thoroughly.

Remember that if bankruptcy turns out to be the best or only option available to you, you still shouldn't go it alone. It doesn't matter whether it's personal bankruptcy or business bankruptcy. The counsel of a good bankruptcy lawyer is vital to understanding the laws in your state, since the bankruptcy laws are different from state to state. This person will be familiar with the process of filing a claim and will be able to help you get through the sometimes bewildering heaps of paperwork involved.

Many people assume false things about bankruptcy. Here are some common misconceptions about the process, and the real truth.

Misconception #1: When you file for bankruptcy, you'll lose everything

There are actually several different types of bankruptcy. A qualified lawyer can help you understand the difference between them. Depending on how you choose to file, you may not lose anything at all. Many people who file for bankruptcy are actually able to retain all their property, and even get caught up on their overdue payments. Bankruptcy is a way to help you deal with your debts when it becomes impossible to do anything else. Learn about your different options and choose the one that works best for you. You may be able to retain everything you own.

Misconception #2: My bankruptcy will become public knowledge

While bankruptcy is a matter of public record, no one goes looking for these records. Therefore, the only people who'll know about your bankruptcy are the people you choose to tell. Only your creditors will know, unless you choose to tell someone else. Your creditors are prohibited from telling anyone else. This makes your bankruptcy as public or private a matter as you choose.

Misconception #3: I won't be able to get credit ever again

Some people think that from the moment they file bankruptcy, all purchases are cash only. This isn't true. Filing will put a mark on your credit report that stays for seven to ten years, it's true. However, you'll probably find yourself inundated with secure credit card offers, and other offers to help you get your credit score back up. Be careful with them, though. They charge very high interest rates and penalties. Careful use of these kinds of offers can help get you back on your feet, credit-wise, as long as you don't get carried away.

Misconception #4: Filing for bankruptcy is very difficult or even impossible

While recent changes to the laws have made it a lot more difficult to file for bankruptcy than it used to be, that doesn't mean you can't do it. It's a tedious and difficult process, and a knowledgeable lawyer certainly helps. However, if you're educated and know your options, filing for bankruptcy doesn't have to be a horrible experience. Remember that the more you know, the more power you have over your situation. The recent laws are in place to prevent abuse, but they don't prevent people with legitimate needs to file bankruptcy from doing so. Consult with your lawyer about any concerns you may have.

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