The law firm of Wink & Wink offers a full suite of debt relief services. We represent people and businesses in bankruptcy, debt settlement, litigation, mortgage modification, and credit repair. While the choice of which service(s) are best for you depends on a number of factors, the strategy tends to be driven by the individual’s ability to repay debt. This means your specific debt relief strategy is based on an analysis of your income and assets.
Wink & Wink represents consumers and small business owners in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We handle individual cases, as well as cases for married couples filing jointly.
Bankruptcy is a legal process to get out of certain kinds of debt. The majority of people who file for bankruptcy keep everything they own during the process. Which chapter of bankruptcy is right for you depends on your household income, what type of debt you have and your personal and/or business assets. In most cases, bankruptcy is the most cost-effective form of debt relief.
The income analysis for bankruptcy starts with the ‘median income’ test. This test compares your household income to the median income for your household size in the state of your residence. If your household income is less than the median income for your household size in your state, the law presumes you cannot afford to repay your debt based on income. That means you are eligible for chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves a liquidation analysis of your property. In chapter 7 bankruptcy, you get to keep ‘exempt’ property, but any property which is not ‘exempt’ can be taken from you and liquidated for the benefit of your creditors. The list of property that you get to keep (i.e., exemptions) is often based on state law and varies depending on where you live. Getting quality legal advice will help you to maximize those exemptions and keep your property. Most people who file Chapter 7 keep everything they own.
If your income is above the median income for your household size, the law looks further into your ability to repay debt based on income. In particular, you are required to itemize expenses in the ‘long-form means test’. If your income minus allowed expenses yields positive ‘disposable income’, then you may not be eligible for chapter 7 bankruptcy. In such a case, you may file chapter 13 bankruptcy. In chapter 13 bankruptcy, you make monthly payments for 3 to 5 years. Your payment is based on the greater of either your ‘disposable income’, or certain things you must pay for in chapter 13 bankruptcy (certain taxes, or property which is not exempt). While chapter 13 tends to be more expensive than chapter 7 bankruptcy, it can still be a good deal, allowing you to get out of debt for a small fraction of the amount you owe. Additionally, there are good reasons to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy even when you qualify for Chapter 7, especially if you are a homeowner.
Most bankruptcies do not involve litigation. In fact, in most bankruptcies you never appear in front of the judge assigned to your case. However, some bankruptcy cases can involve litigation. Litigation can entail defending yourself against aggressive creditors and/or the U.S. Trustee system. Litigation can also involve using the bankruptcy legal system to protect your constitutional bankruptcy rights. In either situation, you want to make sure you have quality, experienced legal representation. Wink & Wink provides litigation services for all types of bankruptcy filers.
Because your credit score is used by lenders, landlords and even some employers/potential employers in their decision making process rebuilding credit is a major concern for most of our clients. We have discovered an amazing program that will help get your credit score on autopilot after bankruptcy or debt settlement. It is called 7 Steps to a 720 Credit Score. The programs teach you the quickest and easiest ways to rebuild your credit score drastically and get back on track through a series of instructional videos, action guides and an online forum to discuss your progress.
If you are behind on your mortgage payments because of loss of income or other adverse economic events and hardships, you may qualify for a mortgage modification through either a federal government program such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or through an internal mortgage modification program offered by your specific lender. However, applying for a mortgage modification can be tricky and frustrating, with many rounds of “lost” paperwork and endless time spent trying to get in touch with a human on the other end of the phone line. Wink & Wink can help you complete your modification paperwork and get it to the correct destination in order to determine if you qualify for this very powerful debt relief.
When you have significant assets that are not exempt, or relatively high income and ‘disposable income’ as it is called in the bankruptcy system, bankruptcy could mean you have to pay back a significant portion or even all of your unsecured debt. In such cases, settling your debts outside of bankruptcy may be your best debt relief strategy. This is because many debts, such as credit card debt and medical bills, can be settled for 50% of the balance owed or even less. Wink
& Wink offers debt settlement services and has had much success in helping people avoid bankruptcy through this option.
If you are a small business owner struggling with debt, you need expert advice to make decisions about the future of your business. Bankruptcy can help you get out of debts you have personally guaranteed, and restructuring of the business itself can help you save your business and preserve your livelihood. If an exit strategy is what is needed, bankruptcy can help you walk away from leases, contracts and other business debts. Business bankruptcy is very complicated and requires expertise and experience. Wink & Wink offers both.