What are the Challenges to Arizona Bankruptcy Filings?
Filing bankruptcy can be challenging. While a bankruptcy filing can help you when you are facing extreme financial difficulty by avoiding repossessions and foreclosure, it is not free from its own pitfalls. When you file bankruptcy protection, you can put an end to the harassing phone calls, collection letters, and ongoing creditor contact because your bills are past due. But, you do need the help of an Arizona bankruptcy attorney to ensure that you are treated fairly and that you have submitted all the proper paperwork for your case. Here are just a few of the pitfalls or challenges to Arizona bankruptcy filings faced by debtors:
- The first problem many debtors face is that they have too much money in the bank. When filing for bankruptcy protection in the State of Arizona, you are allowed no more than $300 total in all your bank accounts combined for an individual, or as much as $600 for a married couple. If you have more than that amount in your bank accounts on the day that you file for bankruptcy, you will have to turn over any funds that exceed the specified amount – $300 or $600 – to the trustee who will determine how to distribute those funds to your creditors to help pay down your debts. You are not allowed to withdraw the extra funds then put them back into your account later. The specified dollar limits apply to all your cash funds, whether it is in bank accounts, your wallet, or hidden away in a piggy bank or jar. If you have funds that exceed the limits allowed for exemption, you will need to consult with an Arizona bankruptcy attorney to talk about legal ways to spend down those funds before you file for bankruptcy protection.
- Another restriction is that you are not allowed to take any cash advances from your credit cards. Any cash advances that you take from your credit cards within a 70-day period preceding your bankruptcy filing will not be discharged as debts. You will still be responsible for repaying those debts, and the credit card company can file a court petition that indicates you must repay the debt and that the filing will not discharge those amounts.
- Also, luxury purchases are not permitted. If you purchase any luxury items during the 90 days preceding the bankruptcy filing, those debts will not be eliminated either. One of the main challenges to Arizona bankruptcy filings is that the Bankruptcy Code doesn’t specify what classifies as a luxury item. In general, it can basically be anything that you don’t need to survive. Groceries, prescriptions, or gas for your vehicle would not classify as luxury items. Formal wear, jewelry, furs, and vacations, however, would classify as luxury items and you would be responsible for those debts.
- You cannot make payments to friends or family. You might owe these people money and you might feel bad about not repaying them, but it is not allowed. If you pay these individuals during the year preceding your bankruptcy filing, the trustee can recover those funds. If that individual fails to turn those funds over willingly, the trustee can sue them to recover the money. Recovered funds are distributed to the creditors as the judge and trustee see fit.
- Any payments that you make to your unsecured creditors for a 90-day period prior to your bankruptcy filing can be recovered by the trustee to be distributed by the court to your creditors as well.
If you are facing financial issues or challenges to Arizona bankruptcy filings, you should consult with an Arizona bankruptcy attorney to determine if filing bankruptcy is the best option for your individual situation.