Filing Bankruptcy In Missouri

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As in all states, filing for personal bankruptcy in Missouri has many benefits, but also many drawbacks. Each bankruptcy case is unique and will see positive aspects in differing parts of the bankruptcy process. Deciding whether bankruptcy is the right decision should be made with professionally trained legal assistance.


Missouri Bankruptcy Topics

  1. Personal Bankruptcy Options
  2. Keep Your Home: Bankruptcy and Foreclosure
  3. Missouri Exemptions to Bankruptcy Liquidation
  4. Options for Filing Bankruptcy
  5. Missouri Bankruptcy Courts and Trustees


Options for Personal Bankruptcy in Missouri

Individuals in Missouri may chose from Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Throughout the country, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is chosen the majority of the time over Chapter 13, and the trend does not differ in Missouri. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

'Liquidation' bankruptcy is officially called Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this method of bankruptcy, the individual gives up nearly all of their possessions aside from 'exemptions' in order to drop most of their debts. To qualify for bankruptcy, a debtor must pass a 'means test.' To pass this test they be below their state's relative median income. In Missouri, the median income figure used is $39,563 for an individual, $51,612 for couples, $58,473 for three person households, $70,363 for four person households, and an additional $6,900 for each addition family member.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Differing greatly from Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the debtor to keep all of their possessions. The downfall is that they also must maintain all of their debts to be repaid. For private individuals with no more than $1,010,650 in secured debts or $336,900 in unsecured debts, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option. To qualify debtors must also pass the 'means test.' The repayment must be made from 3 to 5 years after the bankruptcy filing, and is designed through the bankruptcy court with a bankruptcy trustee that communicates between creditor and debtor to reach an efficient plan.

Filing Bankruptcy during Foreclosure

Home foreclosure is a last resort for creditors, and bankruptcy is a last resort for debtors. But, filing for bankruptcy can in many cases prevent home foreclosure. This can happen because once bankruptcy is successfully filed an 'automatic stay' is enacted by the bankruptcy court. This puts a legal halt to all the creditors’ attempts to regain debt from the debtor, including foreclosures. In some cases, the foreclosure may continue though. One, if the foreclosure was filed before the bankruptcy. Two, if the home is proven to lose considerable value through the bankruptcy process.

Missouri Bankruptcy Exemptions

Missouri state exemptions are all that allowed to the debtor for Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings. Although, the debtor may include Federal supplemental exemptions:

Type of Asset(s)

Details on Applicable Exemption(s)

Homestead

to $8,000 (real property)

to $1,000 (mobile homes)

Insurance

Disability, Illness, Up to $5,000 Fraternal Benefit Society, Up to $5,000 Life insurance dividends, Unmatured life insurance

Miscellaneous

Alimony and Property of business

Pensions

ERISA, Firefighters, Highway and transportation employees, Policemen, State employees, and Teacher pensions

Personal property

Up to $1,000 household items, Burial plot to $100, Medical equipment, Up to $500 jewelry, and Up to $1,000 vehicle

Public benefits

AFDC, Social security, Unemployment, Veterans', and Workers' benefits

Tools of trade

Up to $2,000

Wages

Judge determined

Wild Card

Up to $400 ($1,250 if head of household and $250 per child)

 

Missouri Bankruptcy Court Filing Options

Need Bankruptcy Advice?

Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy lawyers are highly recommended for the majority of bankruptcy filers. Bankruptcy is a very difficult process, and legal guidance should be used throughout. Although there are costs, the risks of proceeding without one are high.

Use a Filing Service

Though not recommended, filing services can relieve some stress to the debtor. They will do all paperwork filing, but will not provide any legal advice. The debtor will save a great deal of money not getting a bankruptcy lawyer.

File “Pro Se”

For those without the financial means to hire a lawyer or filing service pro se  is the only remaining option for debtors. Bankruptcy is risky to undergo without legal aid, however, in times of financial crisis, it may be necessity.

Courts and Missouri Bankruptcy Trustee Information

Missouri Eastern Bankruptcy Court Main Office

Street Address:

Thomas F. Eagleton United States

Courthouse, 4th Floor

111 South Tenth Street

St. Louis, MO 63102-1116

Phone:

314-244-4500

Missouri Western Bankruptcy Court Main Office

Street Address:

Charles Evans Whittaker

United States Courthouse

400 East Ninth Street

Kansas City, MO 64106

Phone:

816-512-5000

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