Bankruptcy in Kansas
Surely, Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz must be the most well known Kansan. After all, her shoes are in the Smithsonian. Did you know that Frank Baum, Dorothy's creator, filed bankruptcy?
It's true. Many people who file bankruptcy go on to do great things. You're likely one of them. If you're in financial strife, as Dorothy would be if her house had really blown away, this article is for you.
Please kindly read on. We'll show you how Kansas bankruptcy law differs from the laws other states; discuss whether you should file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy; explain how to find and select a bankruptcy lawyer; and detail how to prepare to work with a bankruptcy attorney.
How Kansas Bankruptcy Law Differs from the Laws of Other States
In Kansas, you're limited to the bankruptcy exemptions that the state provides to protect your assets during bankruptcy. (Note, there are other federal non-bankruptcy exemptions as well, which protect retirement accounts.)
Most people first ask about their home and their car. We've got really good news for you.
- Your home is 100% protected so long as it is one acre or less if you live in town and 160 acres if you live out of town.
- Your motor vehicles are protected up to $20,000, which is doubled for married couples, filing bankruptcy jointly. If your vehicle has been fitted for the disabled, there is no limit. It's protected.
- Your personal possessions are also protected.
The bottom line is that most folks in Kansas don't lose any property at all when they go through bankruptcy, unless they don't want to make the payments on the property.
Your Choices in Filing Bankruptcy in Kansas: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
What's your income? What kind of debts do you have? How much of your debts are student loans, taxes, alimony, and child support? How much do you owe?
The answers to these questions determine whether it's best for you to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Both offer a discharge, an end to creditor harassment, and a fresh start.
- In general, Chapter 7 is for median to low income earners with high credit card or medical bill debt. Unsecured debts are discharged and the process takes about 6 months.
- Chapter 13 is for higher income earners or people with debts that can't be discharged in bankruptcy. While some debts are discharged, others are reorganized and paid off under a 3 to 5 year payment plan.
How to Find and Select a Bankruptcy Attorney
Three things are key in finding and selecting a lawyer:
- The lawyer must be licensed in the state of Kansas.
- The lawyer must focus his or her legal practice on bankruptcy law, an expert.
- You must feel comfortable working with and trust your lawyer.
To best meet these three criteria, ask loved ones or professionals for referrals. Otherwise, find an attorney through your local bar association or an online search for "Find a Kansas Bankruptcy Attorney".
Then, research the attorney and take advantage of any free consultation offers to determine whom you feel most comfortable working with.
How to Prepare to Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney
It's time to click your heels together and gather and organize all of your financial papers. You'll need your bills, assets, debts, and contracts to fill out the intake papers. Filing bankruptcy is very paperwork intensive (but worth the effort.)
All of this information helps your bankruptcy attorney to give you good advice, guide you through the bankruptcy process, and protect your home.
There's no place like home.