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A Tennessee bankruptcy lawyer's tips on filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy
September 13, 2021 at 4:00 AM
A close-up of a dollar bill.

When someone is facing legal action over debts they can’t pay off, chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically their go-to choice. It involves using your own assets to repay as much of what you owe as possible. If you’re considering chapter 7 bankruptcy, though, it’s important that you know how to file for it correctly and how the process itself works.

The Tennessee bankruptcy lawyers at DZ Law have guided countless people through the process of filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy. We’ve written about some of the myths surrounding bankruptcy before on our blog. Here, we’ll be writing about some of the most important information you need when you’re filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee.

Qualifying for chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee

Some of the main points of consideration when you want to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy are whether you’ve filed for it or for chapter 13 before, whether you appear to be filing with the intent of defrauding your creditors, and whether you can attend credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days of filing. On the state level, though, your income plays a major role in your eligibility.

Your household income must be lower than the median income of a household of the same size in your state, which you can find more information about here. You can still potentially qualify even if you make more than the median income, but this will depend on the results of the second part of the “means test,” which you can find more information about here.

Filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy

There are various forms you’ll need to file regarding your income, expenses, property, and debts when you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some details you’ll need to specifically include are which properties you’ve owned, contributed money to, sold, or given away within the past two years, as well as any property you believe to be exempt from confiscation as part of your debt repayment.

Once these forms are taken care of, an “automatic stay” will be placed on your debts and a trustee will be appointed by the state’s bankruptcy court to take control over your property. During this time, your creditors can’t collect what you owe them, but the trustee’s role is to use your assets to repay as much of that amount as possible.

At this point, you and your creditors will make a brief court appearance to provide further information about the information you’ve submitted when filing for bankruptcy. All non-exempt assets aside from child support, tax debts, student loans, and any other debts declared nondischargeable by the court will be used to pay off the amount you owe.

Tennessee bankruptcy exemptions

Each state has their own set of rules as far as which kinds of property can be considered exempt from being used to pay off your debts. While many states allow you to choose between taking advantage of state or federal exemptions, you’ll have to go by the state rules in Tennessee.

Some of Tennessee’s state exemptions include personal property, wages, pensions, and public benefits, in addition to broader rules like the Wildcard Exemption, which allows you to exempt up to $10,000 of any type of personal property. You can read more about all of these in this article.

Let us help you protect your property

There are a lot of details to keep in mind when you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, especially when you’re trying to preserve as much of your property as possible. That’s why it’s important to get the guidance and expertise of an attorney before filing.

Let the expert Tennessee bankruptcy lawyers at DZ Law help you hold on to what matters to you through this process. If you’re planning on filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, call us at 865-259-0020 or send us a message to schedule a consultation now.