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If the wolves are circling, but you aren't sure that you will have to file bankruptcy, there are some Dos and Don'ts which may protect some of your property if you do eventually have to file.

Docontinue making payments on vehicles which you intend to keep.  Creditors secured by a car or truck can repossess the vehicle without notice to you anytime you are in default in your payments.  It will ordinarily take longer for other creditors (including those secured by other property) to act on a debt that is in default.
Note: If your car has been repossessed but not yet sold, you may be able to get it back if you file Chapter 13 immediately.

Don'tBorrow from or withdraw 401k, IRA, and ERISA qualified savings and retirement plans to pay bills.  Early withdrawal of these funds makes you liable for penalties and taxes which may not be discharged in bankruptcy.  ERISA and 401K funds are exempt from creditors in bankruptcy, as are IRA funds in Arizona (except deposits made within one hundred twenty days before filing).  If you don't withdraw these funds, you will have them to draw on after bankruptcy. If, however, you withdraw these funds, the funds that have been withdrawn lose their protection and your creditors or the bankruptcy trustee can seize the funds.

Don'tborrow money on your home to pay bills.  In Arizona, you can claim up to $150,000 equity in your home as exempt.  This means you can go file bankruptcy, and still retain this equity.  If, however, you take out a second mortgage on your home to pay debts such as medical or credit card debts, you may be converting debt which would have been discharged in bankruptcy into debt which you will still have to pay in order to keep your home.  The additional payment for the second mortgage could be high enough to cause you to lose your home.

Dogive "friendly" creditors a security interest in non-exempt property.  If you have to borrow money from a friend or relative you could give that creditor a security interest in the property which you own. For example, if you have a car which is not exempt and you are borrowing money from a relative, he or she could take a security interest in the car for the loan.  This will reduce your equity in the car, and the likelihood that the trustee will take the car.  It will also protect your relative by insuring that they will be paid from the proceeds if the trustee does take the car since he must pay off creditors secured by property which he takes. 
Caution: The loan must be a legitimate transaction (you must actually receive the money), and the security interest must be granted at the time the loan is made. You cannot give a security interest for a previous loan. Giving a security interest for an existing loan could be a transfer of a property interest in fraud of other creditors which could result in a denial of your discharge. See 11U.S.C. §727. All laws and formalities regarding secured transactions must be followed, such as recording the creditor's name on the title for loans secured by vehicles and the recording of a deed of trust for loans secured by real property.

Don'tpay $600 or more back to relatives, friends or business associates who have lent you money.  Payment of a total of $600 or more to an "insider" (which includes relatives, friends and business associates) within one year before you file bankruptcy may be classified as a "preference." The trustee may recover preferences from the person that was paid and divide the money between all of your creditors.  In Chapter 13, you may have to increase the amount of your plan payments to cover the preference. The payment of $600 or more to any other unsecured, non-priority creditor within 90 days before the case is filed may also be a preference. See 11 U.S.C. §547. 

Don'ttransfer or put property you own into someone else's name to avoid it being taken by creditors or the bankruptcy trustee. All transfers within two (2) years of the filing of the bankruptcy must be reported on your Statement of Financial Affairs. This kind of a transfer is a fraud on your creditors and can result in your discharge being denied. See 11 U.S.C. §727. In addition, the trustee can recover the property from the person to whom it was transferred. See 11 U.S.C. §548. If you transfer property that was exempt or partially exempt, the courts have ruled that you have forfeited your exemption and after the trustee recovers the asset and sells it, the trustee will not turnover any of the funds to you. If, however, you have non-exempt assets, they can be legitimately sold prior to the filing of the bankruptcy as long as the asset is sold for fair market value, the asset is properly transferred, and the proceeds which will also be non-exempt are spent for proper purposes prior to the filing of the bankruptcy.

Doreduce the amount of future income tax refunds.  Federal and state tax refunds are routinely taken by trustee’s in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases.  If you expect to get an income tax refund, reduce your withholding so that you do not get a refund.  If much of the refund is due to Earned Income Tax Credit, apply to get that refund as a part of your regular pay.  (Complete Form W-5, Earned Income Credit Advance Payment Certificate, available at or through your employer.  For more information, see the IRS web page Advance Earned Income Tax Credit Questions and Answers.)
Caution:  Don't reduce the withholding for tax so much that you will have a big tax bill to pay!

Don'tincur debt that you intend to discharge in the bankruptcy after you have decided to file bankruptcy. Incurring debt that you intend to discharge in the bankruptcy may result in a complaint being filed against you.

Don'tdiscard important documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, billing statements, bank statements, etc. If you determine that you must file bankruptcy, we will need all of this information to properly prepare your documents.

More Information About Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Overview
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Please call McDonald Law Offices to schedule a time to talk to one of our experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorneys. If you call during our business hours it is likely that one of our bankruptcy lawyers will be available to talk to you when you call.

The attorney will be able to go over how you can stop foreclosure, stop garnishment, and eliminate other debts through the filing of bankruptcy. During the call our lawyers will be able to determine if you qualify, how much it will cost to declare bankruptcy, what debts your bankruptcy will cover, and how long it takes to file.

CALL NOW! There is no obligation and the consultation is free.

The experienced attorneys at McDonald law Offices help clients achieve debt relief by stopping foreclosure, garnishment, repossessions, and judgments. Our lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Arizona including the following areas:

Tempe Glendale Casa Grande
Mesa Peoria Florence
Chandler Surprise Yuma
Scottsdale Sun City Prescott
Phoenix Avondale Queen Creek
Apache Junction Goodyear San Tan Valley
Cave Creek Buckeye Camp Verde
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Tempe Office - Get Directions McDonald Law Offices Locations
1907 E. Broadway Road, Suite1
Tempe, AZ 85282

Fax (480)968-7910
Appointments available:
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* (or later upon request)
Glendale Office - Get Direction McDonald Law Offices Locations
7141 N. 51st Avenue, Suite D4
Glendale, AZ 85301

Fax (480)968-7910
Appointments available:
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Tuesday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

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Call for a free Consultation. (480)-968-3100
Call for a free Consultation. (480)-968-3100
Call for a free Consultation. (480)-968-3100
Call for a free Consultation. (480)-968-3100
Call for a free Consultation. (480)-968-3100
Call for a free Consultation. (480)-968-3100
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Call for a free Consultation. (480)-968-3100
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Call for a free Consultation. (480)-968-3100