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Bankruptcy in Mississippi

Music icon and Mississippi native, Faith Hill, has sold over 30 million records. In an interview years ago, she gave insight into her life growing up in Mississippi, sharing that her father, who loved her dearly and encouraged her to do great things, never learned to read.

Such is the dichotomy of the state every grade school child loves to spell (M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I). Mississippi is home to literary master William Faulkner as well as the highest illiteracy rate in the United States.

The state of Mississippi proven it has fertile ground upon which good people can do great things, if given the opportunity. One such important opportunity is the opportunity to start fresh if things go wrong financially. Bankruptcy laws create that opportunity.

If you are in financial dire straights, this article is for you. We’ll show you how Mississippi bankruptcy law differs from the laws other states; discuss whether you should file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy; and show you how to find and prepare to work with a bankruptcy attorney.

How Mississippi Bankruptcy Law Differs from the Laws of Other States

If a law is a federal law, it applies to residents of all states; if the law is a state law, it applies the residents of that state. In this section, we’ll provide examples of relevant laws and of the property that you can keep, even if you file bankruptcy.

  • Although you cannot use federal bankruptcy exemptions if you reside in Mississippi, you still get the benefit of federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. For example, your retirement accounts are protected from creditor seizure.
  • In addition, you can protect up to $75,000 in your home (or $150,000 if you’re married and filing bankruptcy together).
  • Personal property is also protected, up to certain limits.
  • And, Mississippi has a wild card exemption of $50,000 for residents 70 years of age or older. This means you get to choose what property it protects.

Everyone is very fearful of losing their home, car, and things; however, most people don’t lose anything at all during bankruptcy.

Your Choices in Filing Bankruptcy in Mississippi: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13

Have you heard the terms, “Chapter 7” and “Chapter 13”? These terms refer to sections of federal bankruptcy law and when you file bankruptcy papers with the court, you have to let them know under which chapter you’re filing.

  • Chapter 7 tends to be for Mississippi residents with lower incomes and high credit card bills or medical bill debt. There is a test, called a “means test”, which you must pass in order to qualify to file under Chapter 7.

  • In general, if your income is below the median income, you qualify. If you don’t immediately qualify, your bankruptcy lawyer may be able to qualify you by listing high living expenses, as appropriate.

  • The median income in Mississippi is $56,494 for a family of four and $34,172 for an individual with no dependents. The test is adjusted to your individual situation.

  • Chapter 13 is an alternative to Chapter 7. Like Chapter 7, it offers an immediate end to creditor harassment and a fresh start. Some debts do need to be repaid and while Chapter 7 takes about 6 months to get through, Chapter 13 takes 3 to 5 years because of the required repayment plan.

How to Find a Bankruptcy Attorney

If your loved ones, community, or church members have mentioned that they have gone through bankruptcy, you can ask whether they liked their lawyer.

Otherwise, you can get a referral from a professional advisor (attorney, accountant, CPA, or financial advisor).

If no personal referrals are available or you don’t want to ask, check with your local bar association and do an online search for “Find a Mississippi Bankruptcy Attorney”.

Take a few attorneys up on their offers of a free consultation and choose the attorney you’re most comfortable with.

How to Prepare to Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney

Be prepared. You will be asked to fill out lengthy forms; these are all necessary. If you don’t understand the forms, it’s okay to ask for help.

To fill out the forms, you’ll need a list of your bills, assets, and payments made. It’s a lot of work; it might be helpful to look at your time and effort as an investment in your fresh start and future.

Cause a Mississippi girl don’t change her ways
Just cause everybody knows her name
Ain’t big-headed from a little bit of fame
I still like wearing my old ball cap
Ride my kids around piggy back
They might know me all around this world
But y’all I’m still a Mississippi girl

-Faith Hill

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