Keeping More Than You Should in a Brooklyn Bankruptcy

Many times, being a Bankruptcy attorney in Brooklyn affords me an opportunity to deal with clients that want to use the process to get rid of most of their unsecured debts and start anew. Having said that, some clients need to understand, that, on their end, this is not a business. That the meaning of the Bankruptcy Code is to provide people with a Fresh Start. If that sometimes entails you having to give up some property, then that doesn’t mean the process itself is tainted. It just means you may have to give up some stuff in a Bankruptcy in New York, sometimes.

Most Bankruptcy attorneys have ads which say “Keep your home and car and still get rid of your debt.” In essence, thats typically true. Since January, when the Bankruptcy laws for exemptions changed in New York, most everyone could keep their home and their car if they file. What those ads don’t tell you, however, are instances where someone has an inordinate amount of cash and still wants to file. Or when someone just received a large sum of money and they have a car that is paid off. In other words, there are various instances where it’s still absolutely to your benefit to file a Bankruptcy (because you owe, you know, like a boat load of money) and get rid of property that isn’t exempt. In other words, filing and giving up $2000 in excess that you have in your bank account. Or, keeping your home, but cutting the Trustee a check for $1000 for the vehicle you have paid up.

What kinds of instances? #1- When you have thousands in credit card debt and you need to file but if you hold off until you spend the money you have in a legitimate legal way, you wont qualify for Bankruptcy. Thats the most important one. Sometimes, I’ll have clients that will qualify under the Means Test, but they have to file, like, now. Like, right now. Because if they wait, even a week, they wont qualify for a Chapter 7. But in order to do that, they have to likely cut a check for a few bucks. Sometimes the clients get upset. But if I told you I’d trade you $100,000 in debt for $2000 over two months, you’d JUMP at the opportunity. JUMP. But, sometimes, when you’re in the midst of a Bankruptcy, you don’t want to do it. You feel like you shouldn’t pay a thing. Get a hold of yourself. You’re being offered the chance of a lifetime.

Sometimes, in this process, you have to step back and realize just how much you’re getting in return. So, my advice is never try to game the system. Never try and take more than what is legally allowed to. Because, in the end, it just doesn’t make any financial sense at all.

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