Someone once said that “good things come to those who wait.” Whoever it was, one thing is for certain; it wasn’t a bankruptcy attorney.
There may be things in life worth waiting for, but when it comes to bankruptcy, often those who snooze, lose.
Strike While the Iron Is Hot
If you qualify for bankruptcy now, there’s no guarantee you’ll qualify in the future, especially if you’re looking to file chapter 7 bankruptcy.
For most of us, a raise at our job is a good thing. But, in chapter 7 bankruptcy there are restrictions on income. If your income goes up in the future, this may prevent you from qualifying for bankruptcy because you’ll be making too much money.
Your only alternative at that point will be chapter 13 bankruptcy. This will usually require you to pay a portion of your debts back over the course of three to five years. Most people would much prefer to eliminate their debt completely with a chapter7. But if you wait to file and your income goes up, you might get stuck filling for chapter 13.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
Your creditors have the ability to garnish your wages, levy your bank account, or foreclose on your home. If you wait until you receive notice of one of these collection actions to start working on filing for bankruptcy, you and your attorney will have to rush to file your case. Rushing to file will be more expensive because of the extra effort needed by your attorney. Also, it may not give you enough time to do proper pre-bankruptcy planning before filing, which can potentially put some of your assets at risk. Waiting also means that your wages might be garnished or your bank account levied before your case gets filed. You can still file bankruptcy and stop a current garnishment or future bank levy, but you can’t get money back that you’ve already lost. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
If you qualify for bankruptcy now and you’ve decided it’s the right thing for you to do, why wait? Your hesitation means you might risk losing money, or you might miss out on the opportunity to file in the first place.