Filing Bankruptcy in Utah helps debtors that are buried in bills with no foreseeable improvements in the financial outlook. Most people file straight bankruptcy under Chapter 7. Some citizens want to keep their assets and pay their bills, but circumstances have created a budget that is too small to meet the payments, even though they are still wage earners. Therefore, payment restructuring, under Chapter 13, makes a big difference.
Utah Bankruptcy Topics
- Personal Bankruptcy Options
- Keep Your Home: Bankruptcy and Foreclosure
- Utah Exemptions to Bankruptcy Liquidation
- Options for Filing Bankruptcy
- Local Bankruptcy Courts and Trustees
Options for Personal Bankruptcy in Utah
All states are governed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Title 11. Although the specifics may differ, the debtor can file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is considered straight bankruptcy. The debtor has no other financial options for debt relief. Through a series of bad economical decisions, loss of job, cut in pay, or major expenses after a catastrophic event, the debt will take a lifetime to repay. If the debtor passes a means test to verify eligibility, the court trustee is authorized to liquidate any available assets, and distribute the proceeds among the creditors. Then, the debts not mandated by law will be expunged. The debtor essentially has the chance for a fresh start. According to the state of Utah, the average single wage earner makes $48,832; a family of two makes $56,816; and a three-person household has an income of $63,796.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for those debtors that want to negotiate with creditors for a more affordable repayment plan. The court helps with this process. Once an agreement is established, the court will set up a repayment plan of 3-5 years. The debtor pays the monthly amount to the trustee, who distributes the payments. However, the debtor cannot file for Chapter 13 if the total of secured debts is greater than $1,010,650 and the sum of unsecured debt is more than $336,900. (See more on Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Utah).
Filing Bankruptcy during Foreclosure
Filing bankruptcy, after foreclosure proceedings are initiated, generally delays the action-nothing more. Although all attempts by creditors to collect money ceases until after the bankruptcy is settled, a lien holder can petition the judge to release the property, so foreclosure is completed. Therefore, if debtors get behind on the bills and do not expect to be caught up in the next month, it is time to consult a bankruptcy attorney, and determine what, if any action can ensure property retention.
Utah Bankruptcy Exemptions
Every state, including Utah, has a list of assets a debtor can claim as exemptions from bankruptcy court proceedings. The chart below is a partial representation:
Type of Asset(s)
Details on Applicable Exemption(s)
Real property, mobile home, or water rights worth $10,000, spouses may double, but homestead declaration must be filed, before the home can be sold
Disability, death, illness or hospital benefits; fraternal and society benefits; life insurance policy worth no more than $1500; spouse or dependent beneficiary of life insurance payments for support
Child support, business partnership assets, and alimony
Public employees, ERISA, and other pensions necessary for support
Animals and books and instruments worth no more than $500; artwork, washer and dryer, bedding, clothing, food for 3 months, health aids, furniture and appliances that are worth $500; sentimental items up to $500; vehicle worth no more than $2500; injury and wrongful death proceeds, etc.
AFDC, public assistance, crime victim’s compensation, workmen’s and unemployment compensation, veterans benefits, disease and disability benefits from occupation.
Minimum 75% of unpaid wages-judge can award more
Utah Bankruptcy Court Filing Options
Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer
Filing bankruptcy without legal representation is very risky. A layperson simply cannot know all of the legal nuances of bankruptcy. Exempt assets are missed, paperwork is not filed, questions are unanswerable, and more. A lawyer is also great moral support, during a very stressful time.
Use a Filing Service
Using a filing service is not recommended. Without legal counsel, and someone to answer for the legal documents, the debtor is in a tough spot, if mistakes are made. The legal and financial ramifications are potentially devastating.
File “Pro Se”
Filing pro se is for those debtors that cannot afford an attorney. However, because bankruptcy law is so complex, it is better to borrow the legal fee and be adequately represented in court. The benefits outweigh the expense.
Courts and Utah Bankruptcy Trustee Information
Utah District Court Main Office
150 Frank E. Moss
United States Courthouse
350 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84101