Questions To Ask Your Bankruptcy Lawyer

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When hiring a bankruptcy attorney, you must ensure you get it right the first time. When it comes to your financial situation, you may not get a second chance.

If you are filing for bankruptcy and planning to work with a bankruptcy attorney, we highly recommend you ask all bankruptcy attorneys you come in contact with the questions we discuss below to ensure you work with the right bankruptcy attorney.

Preliminary Questions

How Long Have You Been Practicing Bankruptcy Law?

This question is a foundational question to ask a bankruptcy attorney because it gives you an idea of how many bankruptcy cases the bankruptcy attorney has handled for clients, and it may show how qualified a bankruptcy lawyer is to handle your case.

Our Answer To This Question: The Rodney Okano Law Office has over 20 years of experience in Nevada bankruptcy law.

What Is Your Experience With Cases Like Mine?

This question gives an understanding of the bankruptcy lawyer’s track record in handling bankruptcy cases similar to yours, making it a crucial question to ask a bankruptcy attorney.

Additionally, you can ask if they have successfully handled bankruptcy cases similar to yours.

Our Answer To This Question: Our bankruptcy law firm has worked thousands of clients through the bankruptcy process. Making our experience with bankruptcy cases extremely vast.

What Bankruptcy Chapter Should I File

In consultation with a lawyer, if they have not already recommended a bankruptcy chapter be filed, you must ask this question as it’s vital to your bankruptcy case.

Our Answer To This Question: When you go into an initial consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer from our firm, we will understand your bankruptcy case first and then give you the best chapter to file in, along with several factors on why it is the best chapter.

Case Assessment and Information Questions

What Information Do You Need To Get Started On My Case?

This question helps prepare you when looking to work with a bankruptcy attorney as it provides you with a list of what information is necessary when filing bankruptcy. In addition, it may give you an insight into the thoroughness of their approach.

Our Answer To This Question: When you ask a bankruptcy attorney at our firm, you will be provided with a clear list that is tailored to your case success.

What Do You Predict For My Case?

Understanding the potential outcome of your bankruptcy case is helpful for managing your expectations and planning for a future after bankruptcy. Most bankruptcy attorneys will provide you with realistic expectations from the bankruptcy process, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Our Answer To This Question: When you work with a bankruptcy attorney from The Rodney Okano Law Office, the initial meeting you have, you’ll discuss your bankruptcy case with an attorney and receive expectations for your case.

Communication Questions

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How Often Will I Be Updated On My Case?

Establishing communication with your bankruptcy lawyer is a must. This question helps accomplish that by ensuring you and your attorney are on the same page regarding the flow of information.

Our Answer To This Question: When you work with us, we will constantly keep you updated on your case. In addition, we will always be available to answer any legal questions regarding your case.

What Is Your Preferred Method Of Communication?

Another part of establishing a line of communication with your bankruptcy attorney is understanding the quickest and most preferred form of communication. Some bankruptcy lawyers may prefer emails, while others prefer video meetings.

Attorneys communicate with their clients in different ways, making this a crucial question to ask.

Our Answer To This Question: Our preferred form of communication is your preferred form of communication, so whatever you prefer will be used. However, clients primarily use the phone to contact our bankruptcy lawyers.

How Quickly Do You Respond To Client Inquiries

This is a good question to ask a prospective attorney as it provides you with an expectation of whether you will be able to receive a prompt response when asking a legal question or about your case.

Our Answer To This Question: We value every client like family, so when you work with us, you can expect a swift response from seasoned bankruptcy attorneys.

Fee and Payment Questions

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What Is Your Fee Structure

This goes into the section on essential questions because understanding an attorney’s fee structure is essential for financial planning. You should also ensure that there is a written fee agreement that outlines all the attorney’s fees.

Our Answer To This Question: We work on a flat fee structure, which works in your favor by preventing any unforeseen expenses. A flat fee structure is a free structure many attorneys use. If you want to learn more, read our article on How Much Does a Bankruptcy Lawer Cost?

Are There Any Additional Costs I Should Be Aware Of?

After understanding the fee structure, you should ask this question to be aware of any additional costs that could arise. This could help you anticipate potential expenses and give you a more complete view of how much the entire bankruptcy process will cost.

Our Answer To This Question: We have no hidden, additional, or surprise fees as we calculate your entire bankruptcy case cost and make one flat fee.

Is There a Possibility Of A Payment Plan

If the fees for filing for bankruptcy are too much due to your current financial situation, you may want to ask your attorney about possible payment arrangements. By asking this question, you open the chance that the attorney fees can be paid on a repayment plan that could span weeks to months.

If you are filing for bankruptcy but seeking to do so for free due to an extreme financial situation, read our article Can You File Bankruptcy For Free In Nevada?

Our Answer To This Question: For a clear answer to this question, schedule a free initial consultation by calling (702) 565-3060.

Legal Team and Resources Questions

Will You Personally Handle My Case, Or Will It Be Delegated To Someone Else?

When you consult with a bankruptcy attorney, it’s important to know if they will be personally handling your case. This helps you feel confident by giving you clarity on the level of attention and expertise you can expect.

Our Answer To This Question: Clients who work with us will have their bankruptcy case personally handled by Bankruptcy Attorney Rodney Okano.

How Will Collaboration With Other Professionals Be Managed?

If the attorney has stated that collaboration with other professionals may take place, it’s necessary to ask this question to understand how it will be managed.

Our Answer To This Question: Our firm possesses the resources necessary to handle a client’s case in the scope of our firm, so outside help is not needed.

Talk With A Experienced Las Vegas Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are filing for bankruptcy in Las Vegas, NV, and are seeking an experienced attorney, contact The Rodney Okano Law Office. We have over 20 years of experience in helping people file for bankruptcy and achieve financial relief.

Our firm can help you get a fresh start; call (702) 565-3060 to schedule a free consultation with a Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Why is it important to ask questions when hiring a bankruptcy lawyer?

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Asking questions is crucial for ensuring that you fully understand the legal process ahead, the lawyer’s experience, and how they approach your specific case. It helps build trust, manage expectations, and ensure a smoother collaboration.

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Can I negotiate a payment plan with my bankruptcy lawyer?

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Many lawyers offer payment plan options to make their services more accessible. It’s advisable to discuss this upfront and explore potential payment arrangements that align with your financial situation.

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Are there hidden costs I should be aware of when hiring a bankruptcy lawyer?

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To avoid surprises, inquire about additional costs beyond the primary fee structure. This may include court filing fees, administrative expenses, or other case-specific charges. Transparency about potential costs is essential for financial planning.

Nevada Bankruptcy Exemptions

Nevada bankruptcy exemptions will play a crucial role in your bankruptcy filing. These exemptions can protect your most valuable assets, making it important to know if you will file for bankruptcy in Nevada.

Nevada exemptions are especially prevalent in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where assets are liquidated for debt relief. The bankruptcy exemptions will allow you to keep your most important assets during the liquidation process.

In short, whether you are a Nevadan filing for bankruptcy or a novice bankruptcy lawyer, you need to know these Nevada bankruptcy exemptions to be prepared for the landscape of Nevada bankruptcy.

Where To Find A List Of Nevada Bankruptcy Exemptions

When looking to find the Nevada bankruptcy exemptions, you can search at the following resources:

  • Nevada Legislation – The Nevada State Legislature website provides Nevada Revised Statutes NRS-021 covering bankruptcy exemptions.

  • Consulting A Bankruptcy Attorney – A Bankruptcy attorney can provide valuable information on your bankruptcy case, including the bankruptcy exemptions relating to your case.

  • Nevada Legal Portals – Websites that provide legal information can be a good source of information on Nevada’s bankruptcy exemptions.

Nevada Motor Vehicle Exemption

One of Nevada’s bankruptcy exemptions is a motor vehicle exemption. This is there to protect debtors’ means of transportation, which can be vital to keeping up with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the motor vehicle exemption allows individuals to shield a certain amount of equity value in their vehicles from liquidation.

Limits on Nevada Motor Vehicle Exemption

This exemption is not limitless and is capped at the following equity value. In this context, equity is the vehicle’s market value minus outstanding loans or liens.

  • Unmarried – If you are unmarried, this bankruptcy code will protect up to $15,000 in equity in your vehicle.

  • Married – If you are married, the bankruptcy code will cover up to $30,000 in equity in your vehicle.

If the equity in the vehicle exceeds the allowed limit, it could be subjected to liquidation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, vehicles meant to help with a disability will be completely exempt, no matter the equity in the car.

Nevada Homestead Exemption

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The Nevada homestead exemption shields the debtor’s primary residence from the liquidation process.

We go into a deep dive into the Nevada homestead exemption in our article Can You File Bankruptcy And Keep Your House? However, we provide key features on exempt property to understand:

  • Primary Residence – In bankruptcy cases, this exemption will apply to the debtor’s primary residence.

  • Equity Limit – In Nevada, the equity limit is $605,000. If you are above this limit, you may not be able to keep your house in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  • Married Couples = Married people in Nevada have a higher equity limit in the homestead exemption.

It’s crucial for all homeowners in Nevada who are filing for bankruptcy to understand this exemption.

Personal Property Exemptions

Nevada’s personal property exemptions protect essential personal property from creditors and liquidation. This personal property could include clothing, furniture, household goods, yard equipment, and even tools of the trade.

Maximum Value Of Items

There are limitations that come with this property exemption. According to the Nevada State law, the following apply:

  • Private libraries, art, instruments, and jewelry can not exceed $5,000

  • Household goods, furniture, electrons, clothing, and yard equipment can not exceed $12,000

  • Fram trucks, stock, tools, and supplies can not exceed $4,500

  • Tools, inventory, instruments, and materials used to carry a business or trade can not exceed $10,000

Tools Of The Trade Exemption

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This Nevada bankruptcy exemption is a lifeline for those dependent on specialized tools and equipment to earn a living. From mechanics to artisans, this exemption is critical for those who work a trade and are filing for bankruptcy.

It’s important to note that the limit for the tools of trade exemption follows the personal property exemption maximum value limits.

Nevada Bankruptcy Wildcard Exemption

The Nevada wildcard exemption is unlike any other exemption as it’s not tied to a specific asset but allows debtors to exempt $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a couple to any property they choose.

This wildcard exemption is extremely beneficial for Nevadans whose financial situation depends on unique or unexpected assets. In addition, the exemption allows adaptability, allowing the debtor to tailor exemptions that better fit their situation.

However, even though the wildcard exemption may seem large, it can go fast when filing for bankruptcy. We recommend contacting a bankruptcy lawyer to walk you through Nevada law and statically using the wildcard amount.

Pension and Retirement Exemptions

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State law recognizes the importance of retirement savings and has exemptions to protect pension and retirement assets. The specifics of Neada’s pension and retirement exemptions include:

  • IRAs – Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are protected up to a certain limit. In Nevada, IRAs and Roth IRAS are protected up to $500,000.

  • ERISA-Qualified Plans – ERISA-qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s, and pension plans are exempt from the bankruptcy process in Nevada.

  • Public Employee Pensions – Pensions for public employees, such as those from state and local government agencies, are protected from creditors.

Additional Nevada Exemptions

Above, we covered the well-known Nevada bankruptcy protections. However, some more unknown exemptions can benefit your situation.

Public Benefits

Public benefits such as social security, unemployment compensation, veterans’ compensation, and workers’ compensation are protected if you file bankruptcy.

Alimony and Child Support

In Nevada, alimony and child support payments you may receive are exempt when you file for bankruptcy.

Life Insurance Proceeds

The process from a life insurance policy is protected by a clause that prohibits the funds from life insurance to pay off creditors.

Health Aids

Health aids such as wheelchairs or hearing aids necessary for your health are exempt from bankruptcy.

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal law has a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions that apply to all U.S. states. Some of the federal exemptions are:

  • Homestead Exemption – The federal homestead exemption protects $25,150 of equity in the debtor’s primary residence.

  • Motor Vehicle Exemption – The federal exemption on motor vehicles protects up to $4,000 in equity for your vehicle.

  • Personal Items – The federal exemption on personal property covers household items, furnishings, clothing, appliances, and books up to $13,400.

  • Jewelry Exemption – Federal law protects jewelry up to $1,700.

  • Tools of Trade – Federal exemption law covers up to $2,525 for tools and equipment like farm trucks.

Work With A Las Vegas Bankruptcy Attorney Today

Are you filing for bankruptcy in Nevada? If so, you need skill, compassion, and experience on your side. At The Rodney Okano Law Office, we have over 20 years of experience in Nevada bankruptcy law and have helped hundreds of people begin their financial reset.

To get a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer call (702) 565-3060.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Can I keep my home if I file for bankruptcy in Nevada?

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Yes, the Nevada Homestead Exemption allows you to protect up to $605,000 in equity in your primary residence. This exemption helps ensure you can retain your home during and after bankruptcy.

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Are retirement savings protected in Nevada bankruptcy?

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Yes, Nevada provides exemptions for certain retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401(k)s.

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Can I use Nevada exemptions and federal exemptions in my bankruptcy case?

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No, debtors in Nevada must choose either the exemptions the federal exemptions. Mixing and matching between the two sets of exemptions are not allowed.

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Can exemptions help me keep my vehicle in Nevada bankruptcy?

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Yes, the Nevada Motor Vehicle Exemption allows debtors to protect a certain amount of equity in their vehicles.

Can You File Bankruptcy For Free In Nevada

Are you struggling with overwhelming debt in Nevada and seeking to be debt-free? However, you want to know how you can file bankruptcy for free. This article is meant for you; after this quick read, we hope we make filing bankruptcy affordable for your financial situation.

Types Of Bankruptcy


Understanding the types of bankruptcy individuals file is crucial if you seek a cheap bankruptcy in Nevada. Below, we cover the two most common bankruptcy chapters a person will use when filing bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

What Is A Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, commonly referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy,” is the sale of non-exempt assets to pay off debts. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process usually takes a few months and provides debt relief for a fresh start to those drowning in unsecured debts.

Eligibility Criteria For Chapter 7

To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, you must pass the means test. The means test compares your income to the median income in Nevada; hence, the name means test. You are likely eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your income is below the median.

Cost Implications

There is a filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if you’re facing extreme financial hardship, you may qualify for fee waivers. It’s crucial to explore the option if you seek free bankruptcy in Nevada.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

What Is A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is where you can create a repayment plan to settle your debts. These payment plans usually span three to five years and can give you an opportunity to get your financial life organized. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it does not involve the selling of personal assets.

Eligibility Criteria For Chapter 13

The number one criterion for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is having a steady income that can meet the payment plan standards. Additionally, Chapter 13 bankruptcy has debt limits, which means secured and unsecured debts must be below a certain amount.

Cost Implications

In Nevada, Chapter 13 bankruptcy has a filing fee of $313.00, according to the Nevada bankruptcy court. However, the Nevada bankruptcy court can allow you to pay the filing fee in installment payments.

Filing Bankruptcy In Nevada

Declaring bankruptcy in Nevada follows several steps, but these steps can alter between bankruptcy Chapters. Due to that fact, we provide below a general layout when you file for bankruptcy in Nevada.

  • Credit Counseling – This is a mandatory requirement all individuals filing for bankruptcy must undertake. Credit counseling is meant to ensure you are aware of tips on how to deal with your situation.

  • Filing A Bankruptcy Petition – Contacting a bankruptcy attorney is recommended at this stage as you must file a bankruptcy petition with the Nevada bankruptcy court.

  • Automatic Stay – Once you file the bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay is initiated. This means that all creditor actions against you, like foreclosure, repossession, or wage garnishment, are halted.

  • Appointed A Trustee – A court-appointed trustee is appointed to oversee your case. The job of the trustee is to oversee the case, schedule meetings with the creditors, and answer any questions the creditors may have about your financial state.

  • Next Step In A Chapter 7 – In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the next step would be the liquidation process. This would mean the sale of any non-exempt assets to erase debt.

  • Next Step In A Chapter 13 – In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a repayment plan will be proposed. If the payment plan is approved, it will be taken out over the agreed-upon timeframe. Most creditors will not be too harsh on the payment plan you provide.

Bankruptcy Considerations Nevada Residents Should Know

  • Exemptions – Nevada has set bankruptcy exemptions that are in place to determine what property you can keep during bankruptcy. Additionally, there are federal exemptions; both Nevada and federal exemptions are important to understand when filing for bankruptcy.

  • Means Test and Median Income – Ensure that you pass the means test when looking to file for bankruptcy.

  • Choosing Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13 – When looking to declare bankruptcy for free or at least cheap, you should carefully consider what chapter you are going to use to file for bankruptcy.

Options To File For Bankruptcy Free In Nevada

Legal Aid Organizations

If you’re a Nevada resident with a low income, you can access free bankruptcy assistance through various legal aid organizations. Some of these organizations are:

The above organizations are there to provide legal assistance to Nevadans who cannot afford private representation. If you need debt relief but can’t afford it, contact one of the groups above to get started on a bankruptcy case.

Eligibility Requirements

Organizations that provide free or cheap legal services may come with eligibility criteria. Some common requirements include:

  • Income – Legal aid organizations will typically only provide to individuals with low incomes. This income amount is usually based on household income relative to federal poverty guidelines.

  • Financial Hardship – Applicants for these organizations will need to demonstrate that they have a genuine financial need and an inability to afford legal services.

Pro Bono Legal Services


Pro Bono legal services are legal professionals who provide legal work without charge. These attorneys can offer their legal expertise to get you through your bankruptcy case without attorney fees.

We take a part of this text to thank all voluntary lawyers as they play a crucial role in ensuring equal access to justice and legal service.

How To Find A Pro Bono Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are looking to find a pro bono Nevada bankruptcy attorney, you can look in several places:

  • Legal Aid Organizations – Some legal aid organizations in Nevada offer pro bono services. We recommend you inquire about the availability of pro bono assistance when reaching out to these programs.

  • Nevada State Bar – The State Bar of Nevada offers a list of law firms that provide pro bono legal services. This list can be found here.

  • Department of Justice – The DOJ provides a list of where you can find pro bono services in Nevada.

If you are seeking pro bono assistance, you should be prepared to provide information about your financial situation and the nature of why you are filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Court Fee Waivers

Court fee waivers are mechanisms that allow individuals with limited financial means to request relief from court fees associated with filing for bankruptcy. Court waiver ensures that debt relief is not blocked by a financial barrier.

Application Process

The application process for court fee waivers in Nevada involves the following steps:

  • Determine Eligibility – The Nevada bankruptcy court will assess eligibility for a court fee waiver based on your income.

  • Complete Forms – You can obtain and fill out Nevada fee waiver application forms here.

  • Review By Court – The court will review your application and determine whether you qualify for a fee waiver. If you are denied, you may not appeal it to a higher court.

Potential Risks


When looking for a cheap bankruptcy process, there could be potential risks when filing for bankruptcy.

Limited Resources

  • Legal Aid Capacity – Legal aid organizations and pro bono services have limitations on resources and capacity. Access to these organizations could be delayed, and you may get a less experienced attorney.

  • Complex Case – If you have a complex bankruptcy case you may find it challenging to access a bankruptcy lawyer who is equipped with the necessary skill to handle your case.

Risks With DIY Bankruptcy

We always recommend you contact a Nevada bankruptcy lawyer and avoid attempting a do-it-yourself bankruptcy, as without a bankruptcy lawyer could result in the following:

  • Incomplete Filings – A DIY bankruptcy could lead to incomplete or incorrect filings which can result in delays or additional costs.

  • Loss Of Assets – You may be unaware of Nevada exemptions without the assistance of an attorney which can cause the unnecessary loss of valuable assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  • Inadequate Repayment Plan – Without an attorney, you may draft up an inadequate Chapter 13 repayment plan that does not align with your income restrictions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Can I file for bankruptcy in Nevada without incurring any costs?

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While filing for bankruptcy involves certain fees, there are options available to minimize or eliminate these costs. Individuals facing financial hardship may qualify for fee waivers, and free legal aid services are accessible to those who meet specific eligibility criteria.

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What types of bankruptcy are available in Nevada?

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Nevada residents can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 involves the liquidation of assets to discharge debts, while Chapter 13 allows for a reorganization and repayment plan over a specified period.

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How do I determine if I’m eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada?

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Eligibility for Chapter 7 is assessed through the means test, comparing your income to the median income in the state. If your income falls below the median and you meet other criteria, you may qualify for Chapter 7.

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Is it possible to get a court fee waiver for bankruptcy in Nevada?

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Yes, individuals with limited financial means can apply for court fee waivers to alleviate or eliminate the costs associated with filing for bankruptcy. The application process involves demonstrating financial need and submitting the required documents.

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What are pro bono legal services, and how can I find them?

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Pro bono legal services are provided voluntarily and without charge. Individuals in Nevada can find pro bono assistance through legal aid organizations, state bar associations, law schools, and online platforms.

Can You File Bankruptcy And Keep Your House


When you declare bankruptcy, one of the first thoughts that may go through your head is if you can keep your house. This is a common question many homeowners in the bankruptcy process ask themselves.

In hopes of answering this question, we provide information on Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy, bankruptcy exemptions, home mortgage, and the homestead exemption. By the end of this article, you’ll be a more confident and prepared homeowner in the face of bankruptcy.

Ways Individuals File For Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy.” In this process, a court-appointed trustee will be assigned to sell the debtor’s non-exempt assets to repay creditors. However, many states have state exemptions that protect the selling of essential assets, such as primary residence.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a payment plan to created to pay off the creditors gradually. This period is usually over a three to five-year period, with the plan being tailored to the debtor’s financial situation. In addition, unlike in Chapter 7, individuals filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can often keep their assets as long as they keep up on the monthly payments agreed to.

Can You Keep Your House In A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The answer to whether you can keep your house in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy largely depends on the equity you have in the property and the homestead exemption in your state. The homestead exemption is the defined value of the property you are allowed to keep.

The homestead exemption amount varies from state to state, as in Nevada, according to the bankruptcy court, the amount is the first $550,000 of equity you have in your home.

How Does Equity Play in Chapter 7?

Equity plays a significant role in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and exemption rules. Equity is the market value of your property minus outstanding mortgage payments or liens. However, many states offer homestead exemptions that protect a certain amount of equity in your primary residence.

For example, if your home’s equity falls below the exempted amount, you could be able to keep your house, but on the other hand, if your equity exceeds the exemption limit, the trustee may sell your home to repay creditors.

It’s important before filing bankruptcy that you understand your state’s homestead exemption. In addition, it’s highly recommended to contact a bankruptcy attorney to navigate state exemptions and your specific details.

Can You Keep Your Home in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the more favorable option for individuals looking to keep their house. As in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, instead of liquidating assets to repay creditors, you make a repayment plan that is set to repay missed payments our a period of usually three to five years.

How Does Equity Affect a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Equity works differently in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy than in a Chapter 7. Chapter 13 focuses on following the repayment plan and making regular payments. Here’s how equity comes into play:

  • Repayment plan – The equity you have in your home will be strongly considered when making a payment plan. The plan will be based on your income, expenses, and the value of your non-exempt assets, including the equity in your home.

  • Equity and Pay – The equity in your home could affect the amount you’re required to pay in the pay meant plan. If you have a significant amount of equity in your house, creditors could expect a higher repayment amount in your plan.

  • Your Home – Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to pay your monthly mortgage payments and any missed mortgage payments. As long as you are keeping up on mortgage payments while fulfilling the terms of the Chapter 13 plan, you can keep your house.

Like in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s important that you work with a bankruptcy attorney during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy process. This will ensure that when you declare bankruptcy using Chapter 13, you will have a payment plan that works perfectly for your situation and allows you to keep up on monthly mortgage payments.

What Chapter Should I File To Keep My House

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Before you file for bankruptcy as a homeowner, it’s important to understand what bankruptcy Chapter best fits your situation. Various factors, such as your financial situation, income, and amount of equity in your home, come into play while deciding.

Below, we give you a brief guide to help you make a more informed decision:

You Should File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy If You Have

Regular Income and Mortgage Debt

  • Situation – You have a regular income and want to keep your house, but you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments.

  • Reason – Chapter 13 will give you the ability to create a payment plan to catch up on mortgage payments over an extended period of time while retaining your home.

Significant Equity and Valuable Assets

  • Situation – You have large equity in your home and have possession of personal property with real value or value to you and want to protect it from being sold to repay missed payments.

  • Reason – Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to retain your assets and your house while repaying debt collectors through a structured plan.

Secured Debts

  • Situation – You have secured debts like car payments and want to keep your home and other assets when filing for bankruptcy.

  • Reason – The Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan will address various secured debts while you maintain possession of your assets and home.

You Should File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy If You Have

Limited Income and Exempt Equity

  • Situation – You are seeking debt relief with limited income and the equity in your home falls within your state’s exemption limits.

  • Reason – Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide you with a quick discharge of unsecured debt and allow you to keep your home if the equity is protected by state exemptions.

Quick Debt Discharge

  • Situation – You have minimal equity in your home and seek fast discharge of debt.

  • Reason – Filing for bankruptcy using Chapter 7 is a streamlined process that may discharge eligible debts quickly, making it suitable for those with limited assets and lower equity.

Unmanageable Unsecured Debts

  • Situation – If your main goal is getting rid of unsecured debt, such as medical bills or credit card debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the option.

  • Reason – Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to give debt relief and provide you with a fresh start.

Homestead Exemption Rule Information

If we had to pick out of all bankruptcy laws, homeowners declaring bankruptcy should know it would be the homestead exemption rule. We cover all information for those who are filing for bankruptcy need to know on this bankruptcy exemption rule below.

Primary Residence Requirement

The homestead exemption will typically only apply to your primary residence.

Creditor Protection

When you file bankruptcy, the homestead exemption is designed to protect your home from being sold to pay off creditors. However, home equity plays a big part in whether you keep your home or lose it.

State-Specific Limts

Each state will have its own exemption limit that dictates the maximum value of the equity in your home. It’s important to go to your state’s bankruptcy court website to find this value.

Automatic Exemption vs. Opt-in

Some states will automatically provide a homestead exemption, while others require you to opt in or file paperwork to claim the exemption.

What To Do If You Are Behind On Mortgage Payments During Bankruptcy

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In the bankruptcy filing process, if you are behind on your home mortgage payments and fear for the worse, you should take the following steps:

  • Talk With Your Mortgage Lender – Reach out to the mortgage company as soon as you fall behind on a mortgage payment. Ensure you explain your situation and ask about possible options or arrangements.

  • Chapter 13 Repayment Plan – If you are filing a Chapter 13, talk with your bankruptcy lawyer about modifying your repayment plan to include any missed mortgage payments.

  • Loan Modification – Seek the possibility of a mortgage loan modification with your lender. This might be extending the loan term, adjusting interest rates, or making missed payments more manageable.

  • Automatic Stay Protection – An automatic stay comes with bankruptcy. This means creditors, including mortgage lenders, are prevented from taking collection actions during bankruptcy, which provides you with temporary relief.

  • Budget Adjustment – Revise your budget and identify areas where you can cut expenses to prioritize mortgage payments.

What To Do If I Want To Keep My Home During Bankruptcy

If your priority during bankruptcy is keeping your place of living, here are some essential steps to take:

  • Determine The Equity In Your Home – Calculate the equity in your home. You can do this by subtracting the outstanding mortgage balance from your house’s current market value. This information is crucial to keeping your home.

  • Consider Filing Bankruptcy Using Chapter 13 – Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a more suitable option for those with a regular income looking to keep their homes. As Chapter 13 works on a payment plan which allows you to keep your house.

  • Understand Homestead Exemptions – Research the homestead exemptions in your state. These exemptions are set in place to protect your primary residence from being sold to repay creditors.

  • Stay Current On Mortgage Payments – There’s no such thing as a free house; ensure you pay your mortgage if you seek to keep your home.

  • Consult With A Bankruptcy Attorney – Consult with a bankruptcy lawyer. You and your lawyer will assess your unique situation, pick the best bankruptcy Chapter, and work to keep your home.

What To Do If I Want To Sell My Home During Bankruptcy

If you want to sell your home during the bankruptcy process, here are some steps to consider:

  • Contact Your Bankruptcy Trustee – A bankruptcy trustee responsible for liquidating non-exempt assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Notifying your trustee if you plan on selling your home is important.

  • List The Property For Sale – Contact a real estate agent to get your property on the market. However, you need to ensure that the sale complies with bankruptcy laws.

  • Contact Creditors – Negotiate with creditors to determine how the proceeds will be distributed.

Talk With A Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney Today

Bankruptcy involves stress, legal loopholes, and other nonsense you should not have to bear the weight of. If you are filing for bankruptcy in Las Vegas, NV, contact The Rodney Okano Law Office today; with over 20 years of experience in bankruptcy law, we will handle your bankruptcy case with effectiveness and care.

Ensuring you come out of your bankruptcy case with an improved financial situation. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (702) 565-3060.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Can I file for bankruptcy and still keep my house?

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Yes, it is possible to file for bankruptcy and keep your house.

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What are the key factors in determining if I can keep my house in bankruptcy?

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The key factors include the type of bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13), the amount of equity in your home, and the homestead exemptions available in your state.

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What are homestead exemptions?

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Homestead exemptions are state-specific laws that protect a certain amount of home equity from being sold to repay creditors during bankruptcy.

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What if the equity in my house exceeds the homestead exemption limit?

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If the equity in your house exceeds the homestead exemption limit, the trustee may sell the property, use the exempted amount to repay creditors, and return any remaining funds to you.

Credit Card Debt on the Decline

Since 2010, there has been a decline in the average credit card debt of the American consumer. However, no Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney would take this to be a sign of greater fiscal responsibility on the part of American consumers or an increase in employment rates, The reason why card debt has declined is that banks are simply not doing as much to collect the debt as they used to before. An Overview Of American Credit Debt Since the beginning of 2010, according to some estimates, the average American credit card debt has dropped by approximately $2150. Credit card debt of the average American peaked to around $18,000 a few years back and dropped to around $14,500 by the end of 2010. Since then, the average debt has stabilized at that number. However, analysts believe that the debt has dropped not because Americans are now paying their credit card bills faster, but simply because banks have given up trying to collect on the debt. Many banks have chosen to cut their losses, and eliminate the credit card debt from their books. Just as with housing loans that were given to consumers who did not have enough paying potential, triggering the housing crisis, credit card debt has increased simply because so many credit cards were issued to people who could not afford to make payments on these bills. Since the recession kicked in, many Americans have begun relying on plastic simply to meet their living expenses. Just over 50% of middle class and lower-income Americans are believed to be using their credit cards for living expenses. Many Americans are now slipping into credit card debt just to survive.

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Bankruptcy

Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Bankruptcy Most Debt Consolidation programs in Las Vegas require you to begin payments even before there is any agreement with your creditors. Most of the first payments go to pay the Debt Consolidation Program fees, so your creditors are still not getting paid. Some creditors go years without payment or agreement, and therefore, may take legal action against you. Before you enter into a Debt Consolidation Program, here is some information about Bankruptcy in Las Vegas that you should consider. 1. Bankruptcy Stops Creditors From Collection Actions Against You Your Creditors must stop all collection activity immediately upon the filing of your Bankruptcy case. A legally enforceable “stay” is triggered when you file for Bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Stay STOPS: Harassing telephone calls; Threatening letters; Repossession of automobile; Foreclosure; Lawsuits; Wage and Bank Garnishment 2. The Purpose of Bankruptcy Filing for Bankruptcy is a legal process to enable the honest, but unfortunate, person relief from crippling debt. Most debt is eliminated in Bankruptcy, such as: Credit Cards; Pay Day Loans; Deficiency Balances (repossessions and foreclosures); Medical Bills; Business Debt; Judgments Debts that are secured by collateral, such as houses and cars, may be reduced, eliminated, the interest rate may be lowered, and you may be provided the opportunity to catch up on past due payments. Some debts cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy, such as: Support Payments; Taxes (some, but not all); Student Loans (almost all, but not all); Fraud Debt Criminal/Traffic Fines 3. Do Not Liquidate Your Retirement to Pay Debts Prior to Getting Bankruptcy Information Many people have made the mistake of selling off property, depleted life savings or liquidated retirement accounts trying to fight a losing battle. Before you make a mistake, get some good legal advice. You may need a professional to analyze your financial situation from an objective point of view. You may protect most of your property under Bankruptcy law. The purpose of Bankruptcy is to rehabilitate you, not take everything away from you. While there are limitations to the type and amount of property you can protect, most people lose little or nothing at all. 4. You Can Choose to Keep Your Home and Car in Bankruptcy You may continue to pay on your house and/or car and keep it while in Bankruptcy. And yes, if your house and/or vehicle are paid off, you may also keep it, subject to restrictions. Bankruptcy may help you with the debt owed on a house and/or car by possibly reducing it, having the interest rate lowered and provide you the opportunity to catch up on past due payments. 5. Bankruptcy Process Your Bankruptcy case is initiated by the filing of the Bankruptcy Petition. The Bankruptcy Schedules, Statements, Exhibits and Means Test/Disposable Income Test must be filed to support your case. Prior to filing the Bankruptcy Petition, you must complete a United States Trustee approved Credit Counseling Course. A Bankruptcy Trustee will be appointed to review your case and manage the Bankruptcy Estate. The Bankruptcy Trustee will require you to produce third-party documentation to support your case filing. You will meet and be examined under oath by the Bankruptcy Trustee at the §341 Meeting of Creditors. Prior to completing your Bankruptcy case, you must complete a United States Trustee approved Financial Management Course. Upon successfully completing all of the Bankruptcy requirements, you shall receive a Discharge. The Discharge is your end goal. A Discharge is legal recognition of the elimination of debt eligible for discharge and a permanent injunction against future attempts of creditors to collect such debt, and your release from the Bankruptcy case. 6. Timing is Important in Bankruptcy You control when to file your Bankruptcy case in Nevada. Many events that transpire prior to filing Bankruptcy may have significant effects on your Bankruptcy case. Many of those events are in your control. Obviously, you want to make good decisions, not bad ones prior to filing for Bankruptcy. Protect your property, qualify for the most favorable Bankruptcy terms and save money and stress by hiring a quality Bankruptcy Lawyer to handle your case. 7. Qualifying for Bankruptcy The most common Bankruptcy case is one under Chapter 7. There is no payment plan in Chapter 7. In order to qualify, you must demonstrate that after legitimate living expenses, you do not have the ability to pay your creditors. Therefore, you are given a Discharge (elimination) of almost all debt. Chapter 13 has a payment plan. The amount paid is based on your financial ability to pay. Most debt is eliminated regardless of how much is paid to your creditors so long as the amount paid is 100% of your ability. Your ability to pay is measured in the Means/Disposable Income Tests. 8. How to Choose a Bankruptcy Attorney Experience and Knowledge – Your Bankruptcy Attorney needs to be able to understand your goals and find an effective legal solution to your problem. Your Attorney should have years of Bankruptcy experience, knowledge of other areas of law, and the willingness and ability to protect you should problems arise. Fair and Honest – Your Bankruptcy Attorney should be fair in the legal fees charged, fair with the amount of time devoted to your case and honest about the representation made to you. Customized Legal Representation – It may be quite the disaster if your Bankruptcy case is handled by a one-size-fits-all bargain-based Bankruptcy Attorney. Bankruptcy is an important legal event. Proper care should be taken to select an attorney that knows how to maximize your results. Value – Cheap does not always equal value. If it is cheap, your case is probably being handled by some inexperienced non-attorney with little input from a lawyer. Eliminating debt and protecting your assets is an important business. Most Bankruptcy Attorneys offer a free initial consultation. You should use this opportunity to learn about the attorney that will be handling your case. 9. Bankruptcy is Law of the United States Bankruptcy is legal! Bankruptcy is a process that enables honest, but unfortunate, debtors to eliminate or restructure debt that they can no longer pay. The United States Constitution, under Article I, Section 8, provides the authority for Bankruptcy relief. Congress enacted Title 11 of the United States Code to provide for our Bankruptcy law. Since Bankruptcy is Federal law, it trumps any inconsistent state law, e.g. promissory notes, contracts, judgments. Bankruptcy law has consistently evolved since the overhaul of 2005 (BAPCPA). Therefore, you need an attorney who has stayed on top of the current Bankruptcy laws. 10. Bankruptcy is Superior to Debt Consolidation Debt Consolidation does not work for many people. There are sets of laws that require your creditors to participate in a Debt Consolidation Program. This means that you can still be harassed or even sued while in a Debt Consolidation Program.

No Debtor’s Prison for Las Vegas Payday Loan

No Debtor’s Prison For Las Vegas Payday Loan Las Vegas, NV – A Las Vegas resident was threatened by “investigators” for failure to pay a payday loan. They stated that, “they would get my warrant out, if I don’t pay the loan.” The borrower was worried about the threat of jail for failure to pay on his loan. There is no jail time for failing to repay a payday loan. First, a payday loan is private debt and is not handled by law enforcement. The Police Department or the District Attorney does not investigate claims of failure to pay on payday loans. It is a civil matter and the lender may sue the borrower if it believes that there has been a breach of any agreement. It would have to put the borrower on notice of any such lawsuit by serving a Summons and Complaint upon the borrower. In most instances of payday loans, the borrower is required to write a post-dated check to secure the loan. If the borrower does not pay, the lender cashes the check. If the check bounces, more fees are added. In many instances, it is unlawful to write a bad check in the State of Nevada. Willfully writing a bad check with the intent to defraud may result in criminal prosecution. However, currently, the Clark County District Attorney does not prosecute for bad checks written to secure loans to non-gaming establishments, according to its Bad Check Handbook. Therefore, any threat of arrest or jail for failing to pay a loan is simply as a method that debt collectors use to get payment from the borrower. If you are being harassed or threaten by a payday lender, creditor or any other collection agency, please call my office for help. I have helped thousands of people in Las Vegas and Henderson find solutions to their debt with Bankruptcy. Contact me for a free consultation to better understand your situation and legal needs.

Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Plan Payments Based on Ability to Pay

I Plead The Thirteenth… Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 in Las Vegas is the adjustment of debts for an individual with regular income. In Chapter 13, the Debtor proposes a plan to address his debt. The Debtor will ultimately seek confirmation of his plan from the Bankruptcy Court. When a plan is confirmed, all of the Debtor’s debts are handled under the terms of the confirmed plan. Upon completion of the plan, the Debtor receives a Discharge. Discharge is the release of the Debtor from Bankruptcy, and the elimination of debt, with limited exceptions. How Much Do I Owe? How much a Debtor pays into a Chapter 13 plan is largely based on the Debtor’s ability to pay. The Debtor’s ability to pay is called disposable income. The Debtor’s disposable income is calculated by subtracting his allowable expenses from the income. Generally, the Debtor’s income will be calculated based on the average of the six month period prior to the Bankruptcy filing date. And the Debtor’s expenses are those that are actually expended and tested for reasonableness. How Much Can You Pay? When the case is filed, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee will be appointed. The Trustee’s primary duty is to review the Debtor’s case and determine whether the Debtor is paying all of his disposable income into the plan. Generally, any disputes about the amount of the plan payment are worked out between the Debtor and the Trustee. However, disputes that cannot be worked out, are decided by the Bankruptcy Judge. In Conclusion… Therefore, Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 does not mean full repayment of all of the debts. In fact, many debtors have eliminated substantial amounts of debt with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans that pay very little or nothing to unsecured, non-priority debt. In order to have a successful Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan, it is important to have accurate calculations of income and expenses. Having an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney to make sure that you have taken advantage of all allowed expenses will make a difference on whether your plan succeeds or fails. If you are considering filing a Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 or 7, please contact the Okano Injury Law.

Bank Denies Request to Reduce Payments for Troubled Borrower

Living In Las Vegas, Nevada… Las Vegas, NV – One of the largest banks in America and issuer of credit cards denied a request from a longtime customer for a reduced payment during his period of financial hardship. We have all heard it before, if you are facing financial difficulty and cannot make your credit card payments, you should contact your creditor. A borrow experienced first hand that creditors of credit cards and line of credit are unwilling to offer any kind of reduction or modification of payments to assist a borrower during these economic changing times. The borrower originally had two lines of credit. The borrower had used and paid on the lines of credit for many years. The borrower had never missed any payment. Then the banking crisis hit. Without any prior notice, the bank closed both lines of credit to any new charges. While this angered the borrower, he continued to make the payments. After a few years, one of the lines of credit was paid off. For the next two years, the borrower paid on the remaining line of credit. The borrower paid over 60% of the balance from where it was when the bank closed the account. Recently, the borrower has suffered a dramatic loss in income. The borrower did what we have all been told to do if we experience financial difficulty, that is, discuss it with our creditor. The borrower called the bank and explained that his income had gone down and requested a modification of the payments. The bank took the borrower’s income and expenses, and after a few minutes, the bank simply stated that they could not help him. The reason the bank gave was that because the borrower’s income was not enough to pay his living expenses, that he would not be able to make a reduced payment. Therefore, the bank denied any type of reduced payment and expected the borrow to continue with the full regular payment. Flabbergasted, the borrower requested to speak to a supervisor. After all, the borrower already knew he was in financial trouble, his income had been reduced. He wanted to find a way to continue payments to the bank. He simply needed a smaller payment. The supervisor got on the phone and stated the same thing. That because the borrower could not afford a reduced payment, they would have to keep the higher regular payment. The borrower asked why couldn’t the bank accept a lower payment for a year and then increase the payment afterward. This would allow the borrower to maintain a manageable payment without changing the repayment period. The bank declined this request. It stated that the because the borrower’s expenses exceeded his income, the borrower would be unable to make the lower payment and the bank would therefore take a loss. What? If the bank believes the borrower cannot pay all of his basic living expenses and pay a reduced credit payment. How is the borrower supposed to make the higher regular payment. The bank supervisor insisted that there was nothing they could do for him, and told him to “have a nice day.” This is an true story and makes me crazy. This is one of the largest banks in America that regularly advertises about all of the community good it does. I say hogwash. I do not believe that banks and other lending institutions have ever offered anything that is truly helpful to borrowers facing financial hardship. The reason is simple. Assisting a troubled borrower is against the banks core mission. That is to make money for the stock holders. And I understand that. They are in business to make money. As much money as they can. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT. What is a troubled borrower to do? You should do everything you can to legally protect yourself and your family. That’s your core mission. If you are unable to make your payments, or not saving for your retirement because you are paying too much on credit card debt, you should get powerful information about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Nevada. Bankruptcy is the most potent and effective protection an ordinary person has against debt.

Bankruptcy Can Bring Relief From Creditor Harassment

Peace Of Mind Maybe The Most Valuable Several years ago, I assisted a retired lady who received income of only about $800 per month from Social Security. The $800 was for everything, rent food utilities, bus fare, everything. The lady would have been homeless, but for the fact that she had her brother to share an apartment with. The lady incurred about $20,000 on four credit cards, all issued by the same bank. Most all of the debt was for basic living expenses. When she could no longer pay, the creditor relentlessly harassed this poor lady with nasty phone calls from morning to night. I ask, why would a bank issue 4 credit cards, totaling over $20,000, to a lady with income of $800 per month. She filed for Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 without the assistance of an attorney because she believed that she could not afford to hire one. Unfortunately, she failed to complete the credit counseling requirement prior to filing, and her case was dismissed. She came to my office and we began work to file another Bankruptcy case. Meanwhile, the bank again harassed her daily. She would come into my office shaking because she was so upset from the harassment. This was an honorable lady. She grew up in the aftermath of the Great Depression, so she wasn’t extravagant and she knew how to do without. It really bothered her that she could not pay the credit cards. I know she had struggled to pay it for a long time prior to filing for Bankruptcy. The whole process of being in debt was very hard on her. We got the case together and filed another Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case. The case went smoothly and the credit card debt was eliminated. Sometime after the Bankruptcy case was completed, the lady’s brother came into the office. Sadly, he reported that his sister had passed away. I am convinced that the stress of the debt collection contributed to her death. I wish she would have found my office sooner. I believe that had she filed for Bankruptcy earlier, she may still be alive. Immediately upon the filing of a Bankruptcy case, all creditors stay from collection activity. Bankruptcy “gives to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.” Local Loan Co. v. Hunt, 292 U.S. 234, 244 (1934). If you or a loved one are being harassed by creditors or are faced with unmanageable debt, please call Las Vegas Bankruptcy Attorney Rodney K. Okano for help during regular business hours.