Do I Owe Too Much to File for Chapter 13?

13 Aug Do I Owe Too Much to File for Chapter 13?

In recent years, many clients have learned that they owe too much to file for Chapter 13 reorganization. Unlike Chapter 7 and Chapter 11, there are limits to how much you can owe for you to qualify for Chapter 13. Currently (the numbers are indexed for inflation) you cannot owe more than $360,475 in unsecured debt, or more than $1,081,400 in secured debt.

Secured debt is debt where you have pledged collateral as security for the loan. Typically, car loans and mortgages are secured.

Unsecured debt includes not only things such as most credit cards, personal loans and doctor’s bills, it also covers most taxes and, if your owe more on your car or house than it’s worth, the difference. For example, if you have a house that is worth $200,000, and have a $250,000 mortgage, $50,000 is treated as unsecured.

Given today’s economy and the housing market, many clients end up over the debt limits, and need to file a Chapter 11 instead.

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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at The Weiss Law Group, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his colleague, Daniel Press, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the previous Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland. He has received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, the United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.
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