It is always devastating when you are not able to repay your debts and creditors come after you. However, in California, you can relieve that burden by filing for bankruptcy. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you choose, your property can be liquidated to pay secured debts. In other cases, you can arrange with your creditors to pay the debts within a specific period. During bankruptcy, you may be granted a loan mediation where you get to make lower monthly payments, get a reduced interest, or extend the repayment terms. Some lenders will want you to get court approval before modifying your loan. Therefore, if you are hoping to get a loan modification during bankruptcy, it is crucial to seek legal guidance. At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we will guide you through the bankruptcy to ensure you are in the best position.

Overview of in Bankruptcy and Loan Repayments

Most people will file for bankruptcy when they are unable to pay their debts. The bankruptcy status helps prevent creditors from coming after you in an attempt to recover their money. Also, filing for bankruptcy in California will give you a chance to reorganize your financial life. There are several categories of bankruptcy you can file depending on your situation. Also, the amount of property you own will be a determinant of the kind of bankruptcy you apply. When you register for bankruptcy, you can have a loan modification where your terms are made more comfortable. Also, you can still file for bankruptcy after your loan terms are modified.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is commonly known as liquidation, is based on the sale of your assets to pay creditors. After this, all your debts will be wiped out. As soon as you file for chapter 7 relief, the bankruptcy court will send a notice to your creditors. This will prohibit them from calling you to demand payment or filing a lawsuit against you. However, some creditors may go to court and file a petition for the removal of the automatic stay.

The following is the eligibility criteria for chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • The value of your debts should be more than half of your annual income
  • You would not be able to pay off your debts within five years even after taking extreme measures
  • The loans you have to affect your ability to afford basic necessities
  • You have very little or no disposable income within your means
  • You earn an income lower than the median level in California

If you have put the property as collateral for a loan, a creditor can take away the property after defaulting payments. At the final stage of your bankruptcy proceedings, you will have gotten relief for most of your debts. However, if you are currently paying your loan, you can have an opportunity to retain your properties. No mechanism can allow you to keep your property after filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, your lender may decide to give you a loan modification that will be at the discretion of the bank.

When you file for relief under chapter 7, you will be required to share control over your property with the bankruptcy trust. In this case, you cannot sell the property or change terms of your mortgage. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will last for four to six, and the bankruptcy trust will hold on to your assets until they determine it can benefit your creditors.

If they determine that your property can be valuable in compensating your creditors, the proceeding to sell will begin. Before the evaluation and sale of your property, you can apply for a loan modification. In this case, you can file a motion and request the bankruptcy court to approve your amendment. Also, the trust needs to file a notice indicating the adornment of the property in question. However, the decision to modify your loans will be up to your lenders. The court will only make an approval. If you are behind with your loan payments and the lender falls to accept loan modification, you can shift to a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often appropriate if you have the money to cover your debs, but you need time to make arrangements for the payments. Also, it will prevent your creditors from calling you and filing lawsuits against you. However, not all individuals will qualify for a chapter 13 bankruptcy. The following are requirements you need to meet before you are granted the bankruptcy status:

  • You need to be filing bankruptcy for individual debts and not those of a corporation
  • Your debt that has not been backed by collateral should not exceed $394,725
  • The value of your secured debts should be less than $394,725. Secured debts are debs whose guarantee is assets that can be seized by creditors.
  • You must have undergone credit counseling within the previous six months.

If you are successful in declaring bankruptcy under chapter 13, you can have more time to pay your debts. A chapter 13 bankruptcy begins when your creditors start calling you demanding their money. After getting the bankruptcy status, you will have as much as five years to reorganize your finances and make payments for your debts. This will be particularly beneficial if you have a stable source of income, but you cannot cover your debts all at once.

Unlike chapter 13 bankruptcy, where your assets will be liquidated, this type of bankruptcy will let you keep the assets. Interest rates are the most disturbing when it comes to paying your loans. Filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy will consolidate your debts. However, it is crucial to understand that this type of bankruptcy will still require you to cover the loans you owe. If you are hoping to modify your loans after chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is vital to enlist the help of a competent bankruptcy attorney.

When filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you purpose to pay all your secured debts within a period of three to five years. There are two common ways in which chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to modify your mortgage, including:

  • Cramdown - Cramdown means that you will pay the loan of an amount equal to the value of your property. In this case, your creditors cannot sell your property, and you get to keep it while you pay the loans for which you used the property as collateral. Any other credit that you owe which exceeds the property value will then be wiped out together with unsecured debts. However, the cramdown will only be available to individuals who used the loan in question to purchase residential properties, or you used your vehicle as collateral for the loan. Also, you are required to pay the reduced loan agreed upon in modification. 
  • Lien stripping - Lien stripping is a process that allows you to do away with a second loan over your property. This is because even after the sale of the property, the amount may only be enough to cover the first loan. During a chapter 13 repayment plan, you can cover the second loan alongside other unsecured debts. However, after completing the payments, the lien will go away.

Bankruptcy Loan Modifications Options in California

When you are overwhelmed with loans, and you are not in a position to pay them, you can try to seek a loan modification. A modification will give you better rates and more time, thus reducing the burden of these loans. A loan modification is done in an attempt to make the loan repayment affordable and prevent lenders from losing their money.

Some types of loan modification options are better than others, depending on the amount and terms of your loan. Sometimes the lender can give you one or multiple options, which will lessen your financial strain.

A loan modification can be done by changing the following terms of the loan:

Lowering Loan Interest Rates

When you file for bankruptcy, likely, you cannot pay your debts. When you succeed in getting a loan modification, the interest rates of your loans will be reduced. Also, your lender can eliminate the accumulated interest. This will help relieve the financial burden and make it easy for you to pay the loan. 

In some cases, the reduction or elimination is temporary until you can catch up with the monthly payments. After this, your interest rates may return to the original agreement increasing your monthly payments.

Reduction of the Loan Principal

Sometimes when your loan is too much and your lender does not want to lose their full amount, they can reduce your principal. Principal reduction is the elimination of a part of your debt. This allows you to pay less than what you originally owe your creditors. This lowers the monthly paints you need to make, depending on the value of the decreased balance. The reduction of the loan principal is one of the most difficult to qualify loan modifications during bankruptcy.

However, lenders are slow in deciding to reduce your principal. Instead, they will find other modification options that will put them at an advantage. When your creditors choose to offer this reduction, it is essential to consult with a tax advisor to ensure that there are no hidden taxes on the canceled debt. When you are seeking loan modification before, during, or after bankruptcy, it is crucial to seek legal guidance.

Extending the Repayment Term

A loan term often refers to the amount of time it will take for you to repay your loan when making required installments each month completely. The short and long term loans depending on the agreement you made with the creditor. In this case, you are expected to complete your payments within the stipulated time. If you make the required monthly installments, you can be able to meet the terms of your loan.

However, when you are no longer able to meet your monthly installments, you can seek a loan modification. When you file for bankruptcy, it means that you are no longer capable of paying your debts. Especially in chapter 13 bankruptcy, your creditors can modify your loan by extending your repayment term.

When the term of your loan is extended, you are allowed more time to repay your loan. This will reduce the monthly installments you make for the loan lowering your financial burden. However, it is crucial to understand that increasing the period through which you pay your loan will increase than interest rates and overall payments you make. When deciding to accept an offer for a particular loan modification option, it is essential to have legal representation.

Postponing Payments 

When loans become too overwhelming before or after bankruptcy, you can seek to defer some payments. This occurs when the monthly installments you are expected to make for a particular month are pushed to a further date. Delaying payments is a good option when you are expecting a certain amount of money soon. However, you will have to catch up with the payments to prevent the liquidation of your property. If you are unable to catch up within the stipulated loan term, your lender can add a few more months to cover the months you did not pay.

Convert your Loan to a Fixed Rate

A fixed-rate loan has an interest rate that remains constant over time. When you get a loan, you will pay the loan plus interest that accumulates over the time agreed upon. After filing for bankruptcy, you will want to make a plan to repay your debts within three to five years. Converting your loan to a fixed rate is one of the loan modification options you can receive from your lenders.

Most loans have an interest rate that increases over time. When your loan is modified to a fixed rate, you will pay an unchanging interest. In this case, you are sure the amount you will pay at the end of each month. 

Not all individuals going through bankruptcy will qualify for a loan modification. You need to meet the following criteria for you to get a chance of modifying your loan:

  • You should be spending at least 31% of your income to cover housing costs, which include mortgage payment as well as homeowners’ association dues.
  • You are more likely to default due to change of financial circumstances such as losing your job otherwise going bankrupt
  • You are more likely to qualify for a loan modification when you are not eligible for refinancing your mortgage.
  • Your loans are higher than the value of our property, and their sale would not be able to pay your financers.

Even when you meet the eligibility criteria, you will require approval from the court. With the help of a bankruptcy attorney, you will file a motion requesting the court to approve a modification of your loan. Sometimes you will be required to attend a hearing if there is a party who is against your request.

When the judge approves your request for the modification, then you can enter the modification agreement. If you do not succeed in receiving an adjustment, you can alternatively file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, which can wipe out all your debts. However, you need to meet the eligibility criteria for this category of bankruptcy.

Loan Modification Process

After approval of your modification request by the court, you need to follow the following steps with your lenders:

  1. Application

During the application, most lenders need proof of your income. This helps them ensure that you are capable of paying the loan under the modified terms. You will be required to submit a credit report so they can assess it and determine what you need to pay each month. It is essential to understand that a current or previous bankruptcy is likely to affect your credit score

  1. Trial Period

After you complete the submission of all the paperwork, your creditors will determine your ability to repay the modified loans. You will then get an offer to make trial payments. This will give an overview of how you will be making your payments.

  1. Final Decision

When your trial period ends, the lenders will decide on whether or not to offer a modification. Also, they will determine the kind of modification option they can provide, depending on the type of loan you owe.

Filing for a loan modification during bankruptcy can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is crucial to enlist the guidance of a competent bankruptcy attorney.

Find a San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me

Filing for bankruptcy can be an option to wipe out your debts or give you time to repay your creditors. Getting a loan modification will allow you to have less strenuous terms of paying your loans. However, the category of bankruptcy you qualify will affect the court’s decision to approve the modification of your loans. If you want to get a loan modification during bankruptcy, a competent bankruptcy attorney can help you file your motion in court. If you are in San Diego, California, you will require guidance from San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney. Contact us at 619-488-6168 today and allow our attorneys to guide you.