Bankruptcy in Buffalo, New York is a court proceeding through which a person or business who is unable to pay their debt is able to have some of their debt legally eliminated, or "discharged." This theoretically allows the debtor to move on with a clean slate. However, bankruptcy should not be treated as a way to avoid debt that one simply doesn't feel like paying. It is meant to be a safety net for people or businesses who are honestly unable to pay off their debts. Because bankruptcy is not without negative consequences (such as a severely damaged credit rating for many years afterward), it should be viewed as an option of last resort.
Accordingly, you should speak with a good Buffalo, New York bankruptcy lawyer. Your Buffalo bankruptcy lawyer can inform you of the costs and benefits of filing for bankruptcy, and give his or her professional advice as to whether or not it's a good option, given your individual circumstances.
Types of Bankruptcy in Buffalo, New York
In Buffalo, New York, 3 types of bankruptcy procedures are in common use: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13. Being governed by federal law, the procedures involved in filing for bankruptcy in Buffalo, New York will be about the same as anywhere else in America. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or "liquidation," requires the debtor to sell some of his or her property to the highest bidder, and using the proceeds from the sale to pay down as much debt as possible. Once the sale is fulfilled, all dischargeable debt is deemed paid in full, whether or not the sale was able to raise the entire amount owed. You should note that some property (usually the types of property deemed essential) is fully or partially exempt from liquidation, meaning that the debtor gets to keep it. This includes houses, cars, and retirement accounts, among others. Some types of debts, however, cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including taxes, child support, and student loans.
The other form of bankruptcy most often used in Buffalo is Chapter 13. It allows a person to pay off their debt over a prolonged period of time, often consolidating it into one periodic payment. In this system, the amount of money the debtor owes is not actually reduced, but the payment of the debt is made far more manageable. This gives the debtor some breathing room, allowing him to continue to earn a living while gradually paying down his debts, and gives some security to creditors that they will eventually collect all or most of what they're owed. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is usually used by businesses, though it can be used by individuals (which is quite rare). Chapter 11 bankruptcy requires that the debtor come up with a reorganization plan - basically telling the court how they propose to cut costs, streamline their operations, and pay their debts. This plan must be approved by the participating creditors through a simple majority vote.
During the Chapter 11 process, a business can normally continue its operations, and the stock can be traded, even if it is de-listed from a major stock exchange.
How Can a Buffalo Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
The need to consider all the options and consider the costs and benefits of filing for bankruptcy in Buffalo cannot be overstated. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it would be a good idea to speak with a Buffalo bankruptcy attorney beforehand.