Bankruptcy Does Not Mean You Have to Lose Property

Bankruptcy Does Not Mean You Have to Lose Property

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 10:20

Wilkes County has been around for a long time. Founded just a year and a half after the American Revolution, Wilkes has a storied history in the foothills of northwestern North Carolina. Though coastal and central parts of the state may have been the political hubs for the first few centuries, our area has given birth to some of its important movements and innovations. 

You cannot watch a documentary about the Carolinas without hearing the words “moonshine” and “NASCAR”. Moonshine was made throughout the hills and valleys surrounding Wilkes, and the people that ran the shine in their fast cars ultimately began racing their cars around dirt and asphalt tracks. North Wilkesboro Speedway was one of the first racetracks to be part of the sanctioning body called NASCAR that has grown into a multi-billion-dollar sport and one of North Carolina’s largest exports. Wilkes also gave birth to Lowes Hardware, Lowes Foods, First Union Bank, and many other large companies. 


Like any place, we have seen difficult times as well. Our nation, and the world itself, are experiencing one of the most pervasive pandemics in centuries. Many people are suffering and trying to heal from COVID-19, while medical personnel, hospital staff, and others are on the frontlines trying to combat its effects. Meanwhile, everyone is impacted by the measures taken to reduce the spread of the virus. Many members of our community have had property in Wilkes for generations, and even as debt piles up, they fear they will lose it if they file for bankruptcy. 

There are bankruptcy options that can help protect you from losing your house and land, but it is vital to speak with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney before you take that step. In this article, we will discuss when it might be right to file for bankruptcy and how it might help you keep your property. 

When You Should Consider Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is not for a situation in which you have fallen a little behind, accrued a small amount of debt, and are trying to get ahead. Bankruptcy does have consequences for the future, including your ability to restore credit. It does not, however, mean you cannot eventually restore good credit, obtain credit cards, and establish a sound financial future. Here’s when and why you should consider bankruptcy:

  • Your debt seems to be accruing more quickly than you can pay
  • You do not even know how much debt you owe
  • You are depleting your finances in a time when your work situation is especially uncertain
  • You are close to foreclosure and have exhausted your other options 

Bankruptcy is a serious financial decision and should only be done after much consideration; however, there are times where it makes the most sense for you and your family. Bankruptcy can help provide you with a fresh financial start.

How You Can Declare Bankruptcy and Keep Your Property

Chapter 7 bankruptcy means that your assets that the state government deems nonexempt will be liquidated in order to pay your unsecured debts. For some, that may indeed be your best option. However, chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to retain your nonexempt property; however, you will still pay for the value of that property to unsecured creditors. 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy essentially establishes a repayment plan that priorities certain debts and back taxes. Once living expenses are deducted from your income, you will be required to pay those debts with the remaining disposable income. Unfortunately, being allowed to keep your non-exempt assets could drive your dividend payment higher or even preclude you from filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you do not have enough disposable income. However, the option is worth exploring if you indeed considering bankruptcy. 

Robert P. Laney, PLLC has decades of experience helping Wilkes residents navigate bankruptcy and get back on their feet. If you would like more information about bankruptcy, contact us today.