Bankruptcy in Alaska is a legal procedure through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are discharged (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult process. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good Alaska bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your distinct case.
Types of Bankruptcy in Alaska
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Alaska will be the same as anywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic types of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy normally used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In Alaska, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as "liquidation." When a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed by the bankruptcy court to do an accounting of the debtor's property. The trustee then decides what pieces of property, if any, should be sold off to pay off the debts. Many types of property are exempt from forced sale up to a certain dollar amount, including houses, cars, and retirement accounts. Once the property is sold, any remaining dischargeable debt is eliminated. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt is normally not discharged; instead, it is reorganized. The court will craft a long-term payment plan that allows the debtor to pay off his or her debts in single payments, over time. This usually gives the debtor some breathing room that would not exist if all of his or her debts became due and payable at once.
Normally, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used by businesses as opposed to individuals. Much like Chapter 13, Chapter 11 involves the reorganization, as opposed to discharge, of a debtor's obligations. However, it is up the to the debtor to come up with a repayment plan, and once this happens, the plan is submitted to the participating creditors, who must approve it by majority vote.
How Can a Alaska Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be very difficult, given the potential consequences. A Alaska attorney specializing in bankruptcy can advise you of the likely consequences you will face if you file, and help you determine if they are outweighed by the potential benefits.
Interesting Facts About Alaska
Alaska is the 49th state to join the Union, having joined the union on January 3, 1959. Alaska's state nickname is "the Last Frontier". The region was obtained by the U.S. from Russia in the year 1867, in what is known as the "Alaska Purchase".
Today, Alaska retains much of its original character of "the great outdoors". Many of the state's laws and court cases deal with legal issues that aren't found anywhere else in the United States. For example, in Frank v. Alaska (1979), the Alaska Supreme Court protected the interests of groups that were hunting for religious reasons. Another case, Alaska v. Arctic Maid (1961), dealt with the commercial transport of salmon. Thus, a large portion of Alaskan laws involve the protection of the abundant natural resources in the area.
Unlike most other states, the Alaska Supreme Court does not meet in only one location. Most state Supreme Court cases are heard every month in Anchorage. However, on occasion the Supreme Court meets in other places like Juneau, Fairbanks, and other Alaskan communities. This unique feature of the Alaska Supreme Court allows legal issues to be tried in various places. This can be very helpful, since Alaska has the largest geographic area of all the 50 states.
Lawyers in Alaska provide assistance in all kinds of legal fields. Most Alaska lawyers file claims in the state's trial courts, advancing through the appeal system as needed. Attorneys are available in Alaska to help the community with their legal needs.