Bankruptcy in Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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 particular case.
Types of Bankruptcy in Massachusetts
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Massachusetts 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 usually used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Massachusetts is sometimes called "liquidation" because it involves the forced sale of some (though certainly not all) of the debtor's assets. The bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee to oversee the appraisal and sale of some of the debtor's property, and the proceeds from the sale will go to the creditors, in their order of priority. Certain types of property are exempt, and do not need to be sold, including houses and insurance policies. Once the property is sold, and the proceeds given to the creditors, the rest of the debt is discharged. When Chapter 13 bankrutpcy is filed, the debt is reorganized instead of discharged. Essentially, the court, the debtor, and the creditors will work out a repayment plan that the debtor can manage, and will result in most of the debt being paid off, hopefully in a reasonable period of time.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy, like Chapter 13, involves reorganization of debt. However, it is almost exclusively used by businesses, and not individuals. After filing for Chapter 11, the debtor has to come up with a repayment plan. The plan must then be approved by a majority vote of participating creditors.
How Can a Massachusetts Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Because bankruptcy is a huge financial and life decision, it is not one to be made without as much information as possible. A Massachusetts bankruptcy lawyer can help give you this information, and advise you as to whether or not bankruptcy is a prudent course of action, given your individual situation.
Interesting Facts About Massachusetts
Massachusetts is known as "The Bay state" and was the sixth state to join the Union. The state of Massachusetts played a major role in the historical, cultural, political, and economic development of early America. The area was settled as early as the 1630's and continues to be a model of life in the U.S.
Since its early days, Massachusetts has been influential in shaping the structure and function of the U.S. government. For example, the Massachusetts State Constitution was drafted in 1780, eight years before the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Massachusetts' Constitution is one of the oldest written constitutions still in effect in the world. Another of Massachusetts' contributions is the Mayflower Compact of 1620, which was the Pilgrim's governing document for Plymouth colony.
The Massachusetts legal system is composed of the Supreme Judicial Court at the highest level, followed by the Appeals Court, then the Superior Court Department. Beneath these courts are the District Court Department and the Boston Municipal Court Department. The state also operates a number of specific courts including the Housing, Probate & Family, and Land Courts. The Supreme Judicial Court has produced several landmark decisions that have influenced American law, such as those relating to same-sex marriage, higher education, and medical reform.
Lawyers in Massachusetts form the foundation of the state's reputation for outstanding legal services. Many Massachusetts lawyers have been involved in cases that have set the precedent for subsequent cases. Attorneys in Massachusetts handle a wide range of legal issues.