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CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO BANKRUPTCY IN THE FULL GUIDE YOU WOULD GET: A basic understanding of the 2 main types of consumer bankruptcy, valuable insights into evaluating bankruptcy as a debt reduction tool, and practical guidance for finding a quality bankruptcy attorney.

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An overview of the bankruptcy process. Key bankruptcy terms like: “discharge,” “automatic stay,” and “exemptions.” Chapter 7 bankruptcy: what it is, how it works, and when it is preferred. Chapter 13 bankruptcy: what it is, how it works, and when it is preferred. How bankruptcy can save a home from foreclosure or a car from repossession. 5 good reasons to file bankruptcy. 5 good reasons not to file bankruptcy. 3 alternatives to filing for bankruptcy. 5 questions to ask when interviewing a prospective bankruptcy attorney.

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Chapter 7  is  called   Liquidation.    It  is  also   referred  to  as   “straight”  bankruptcy.  



Most Chapter  7s  last  about  4  months,  from  the  date   you  file  until  the  date  you  receive  your  discharge  of   your  debts.  


Most if  not  all  of  your   debts  are  unsecured.      

Your assets  are  fully   protected  by  state   exemptions.    

You must  qualify  for  7  by  passing  the  “Means  Test,”   which   compares   your   average   monthly   income   to   that  of  a  similarly  sized  household  in  Tennessee.    

You are  current  on  the   secured  debts  you   want  to  keep,  or  you   wish  to  surrender  the   secured  collateral   back  to  the  creditor.  

An appointed   Chapter   7   Trustee   liquidates   any   of   your   non-­‐exempt   assets   and   uses   the   proceeds   to   pay  your  creditors.    PLEASE  NOTE:  Rarely  are  there   any   assets   to   liquidate,   as   the   laws   of   the   state   of   Tennessee   usually   allow   you   to   protect  most,   if   not   all,  of  your  assets.      

In most  cases,  your  unsecured  debt  (e.g.,  credit   cards,  medical  bills,  signature  and  personal  loans,   vehicle  repo  or  home  foreclosure  deficiencies)  will   be  discharged.    Student  Loans  will  most  likely  not   be  discharged,  though.   Most  priority  debts  like  income  taxes  and  domestic   support  obligations  survive  the  discharge,  meaning   that  you  will  continue  to  owe  them  after  you   receive  your  discharge.       You  usually  can  choose  whether  and  how  you  want   to  keep  your  secured  debts  (e.g.,  vehicle  with  a   loan,  home  with  a  mortgage)     You  may  choose  to  surrender  a  secured  asset   without  owing  a  deficiency  that  arises  when  your   creditor  resells  it.    



GORDON BOUTWELL is a   bankruptcy   and   consumer  

protection attorney   in   Franklin,   Tennessee.     He   has   practiced   law   since   2006,   with   most   of   that   time   dedicated   to   bankruptcy,   personal   finance,   and   consumer  advocacy.         Over  the  years  he  has  helped  hundreds  of  individuals,   couples,  and  families  with  their  financial  problems.    He   believes   in   treating   other   people   the   way   he   would   want   to   be   treated   in   the   same   situation.     He   takes  the   time  to  get  to  know  his  clients,  and  he  educates  them   on  their  options  for  getting  out  of  debt,  helping  them  to   understand  and  evaluate  them.             He   believes   bankruptcy   is   a   worthwhile   tool   to   help   some   (but   not   all)   people   get   out   of   debt,   and,   when   combined  with  financial  education  and  counseling,  can   be  a  springboard  to  financial  independence.         In   March   2011,   Gordon   and   R.   Keith   Gordon   formed   Gordon  H.  Boutwell,  Atty   the   Lodestone   Legal   Group   in   Franklin   Tennessee,   Lodestone  Legal  Group   with   the   purpose   of   assisting   business   and   private   198  E.  Main  St.,  Ste.  4   clients  by  exploring  legal  options,  navigating  the  legal   Franklin,  TN  37064   pitfalls,   and   providing   measurable   results   through   615-­‐807-­‐1064   custom  solutions  and  a  commitment  to  the  lost  art  of   personal  care  and  client  service.       Lodestone   Legal   Group   practices   in   the   areas   of     bankruptcy,  debt  negotiation  and  settlement,  financial     counseling,   residential   and   commercial   real   estate,   estate   planning   (wills   and  trusts),   and  small   business   and  corporate  law.                         situation or something you read in this guide? 3 Got a question about your Feel free to email me at, call me at 615-807-1064, or visit the website at

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. How, What, and When, Answered.  

Chapter 7 is called Liquidation. It is also referred to as “straight” bankruptcy.

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