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    A Look at Your Financial Life After Bankruptcy

    Last updated 3 days ago

    For many families struggling with overwhelming debt, a bankruptcy filing offers the opportunity to get a new start and achieve financial stability. However, bankruptcy is not a “one and done” solution. It’s important to consult a bankruptcy attorney regarding exactly what you can expect from the process and how your life will change thereafter. After bankruptcy, you can indeed regain financial stability, but it will take some time to get there.

    Adhere to a Budget
    Many people prefer to request a Chapter 13 reorganization. If the court approves it, you’ll adhere to a repayment plan for the next three to five years. At the end of that time, your remaining dischargeable debts are eliminated. However, during this time, the court will decide how much money you need to pay your basic expenses. This means that you’ll have to avoid impulse buys or frivolous purchases and stick to a very strict budget. Even if you chose a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll need to adhere to a strict budget while you rebuild your finances.
    Build an Emergency Fund
    As soon as it is possible for you to do so, it’s critically important to establish an emergency fund. Your emergency fund will grant you peace of mind and you can rely on it for unexpected expenses, such as car repairs and medical expenses. Even if you can only contribute $20 per week toward your emergency fund, do so. Over time, you’ll be able to make more significant contributions.
    Re-Establish Credit
    It will take a while to improve your credit score after filing for bankruptcy. Within six months to a year of your bankruptcy discharge, consider applying for a secured credit card. Remember to pay all of your bills on time every month to rebuild your credit history.
    Cutler & Associates, Ltd., a bankruptcy law firm, has been helping Chicago-area families break free from debt since 1990. With more than 30 years of combined experience, our bankruptcy lawyers can help you finally eliminate your debt and regain control of your life. For more information about filing for bankruptcy, call our offices in Aurora or Schaumburg at (847) 505-0380.

    Retirement Funds and Bankruptcy

    Last updated 10 days ago

    Bankruptcy is often a viable option for people who are buried in debt and need a fresh financial start. However, some may hesitate to consult a bankruptcy lawyer because they’re concerned about losing their hard-earned retirement savings. Fortunately, in most cases, those who file for bankruptcy can keep their retirement accounts.


    Thanks to bankruptcy law reforms passed in 2005, almost all pension plan funds and retirement accounts are exempt. This means that they cannot be used to pay back creditors if you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. And if you file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, having these assets will not affect the amount you must repay your creditors because they are exempt assets. As an added bonus, the entire amount of any exempt retirement accounts are out of reach of creditors. However, there are a few exceptions, including Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs.


    The bankruptcy lawyers of Cutler & Associates, Ltd. look forward to meeting you and answering your questions regarding exempt assets and other aspects of filing for bankruptcy. You can schedule an appointment at our offices in Aurora or Schaumburg by calling (847) 505-0380.

    Breaking Down Myths About Bankruptcy

    Last updated 17 days ago

    On average, more than a million people file for bankruptcy each year. It’s a legal method of discharging debts when you lack the ability to repay them. Despite the commonplace nature of bankruptcy, there are still plenty of misconceptions about the process. Before dismissing the idea of bankruptcy as a solution for your financial woes, consider talking to a bankruptcy attorney to learn the truth behind common myths.

    Myth: I’ll Lose All My Assets
    The process of bankruptcy involves scrutinizing your finances, including your assets and liabilities. It’s true that bankruptcy trustees can sell certain assets and use the proceeds to pay creditors. However, in most cases, bankruptcy petitioners can expect to keep most if not all of their assets. In all likelihood, you’ll keep your home, vehicle, retirement accounts, clothing, household goods, and other assets.
    Myth: Everyone Will Know I’m Going Through Bankruptcy
    A bankruptcy proceeding is indeed a matter of public record. However, unless you’re a celebrity or an otherwise prominent figure, it’s unlikely that your family members, friends, co-workers, or other associates will find out about it unless you tell them. The only people and organizations that will definitely know about the bankruptcy filing are your creditors and your bankruptcy lawyer.
    Myth: Both Spouses Must File for Bankruptcy
    In most cases, it makes sense for both spouses to file for bankruptcy since couples often hold liabilities in common. However, if you have a significant amount of debt that is in your name only, it may make more sense for you to file for bankruptcy without your spouse. The bankruptcy attorneys at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. can help you learn more about bankruptcy and determine whether it might be right for you. We provide expert guidance and actionable solutions to help our clients build a stronger financial future. Residents in the Aurora and Schaumburg areas are invited to call our team at (847) 505-0380 to schedule a free evaluation.

    Getting Out of Credit Card Debt

    Last updated 24 days ago

    Credit card debt is particularly damaging to one’s financial health because of the typically high interest rates and excessive fees. In fact, high amounts of credit card debt are a common reason why people decide to file for bankruptcy. When you watch this video, you’ll hear the story of Mary Hunt. For over a decade, she buried herself in credit card debt by going on frequent shopping sprees.

    Now debt-free, Hunt is a professional speaker who seeks to inspire others to improve their financial health. She offers some wise tips to individuals interested in breaking free of debt. However, for some, bankruptcy may still be the ideal solution.

    If you’re curious whether filing for bankruptcy might be right for you, consider scheduling a consultation with the bankruptcy attorneys at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. Residents throughout Aurora and Schaumburg can call us at (847) 505-0380.

    When Chapter 7 Isn't Your Best Bankruptcy Option

    Last updated 1 month ago

    It can be challenging to determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be best for you. Consider meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss what each type of bankruptcy filing entails. While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may seem ideal because it involves the quick discharge of many types of debt, it may not be right for everyone.

    When You Do Not Pass the Means Test

    Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not be an option for you if you do not meet the eligibility requirements. To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your income must pass the means test. To pass, your income must fall below the established median level of income for your particular area. The means test also assesses the financial status of those whose income is above this level. This involves evaluating whether you have enough disposable income to pay your creditors during a repayment period. Your disposable income is the money that is left after you pay your allowed expenses. Your total financial status will determine whether you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    When You Have Non-Dischargeable Debts

    Even if you do qualify for Chapter 7, it may not be in your best interests. If your debt consists primarily of non-dischargeable debts that will not be eliminated in a Chapter 7 filing, then Chapter 13 may be best for you. These non-dischargeable debts include child support, alimony, income taxes, student loans, and court judgments.

    When You Have Nonexempt Property

    During Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee will evaluate your property to determine what may be sold to pay your creditors. Exempt property cannot be sold, such as your car and equity in your home. If you have a substantial amount of nonexempt property, your bankruptcy attorney may advise you to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Nonexempt property includes family heirlooms, valuable collections, and investments.

    Let the bankruptcy attorneys at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. help you decide of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you. During your free consultation, we’ll explain the ins and outs of each type of bankruptcy, and discuss your best legal options. Those in the Schaumburg and Aurora areas can get in touch with our bankruptcy law firm by calling (847) 505-0380.

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