Bankruptcy in New Hampshire
Did you know that New Hampshire was the first of the original colonies to declare its independence from England? Did you know New Hampshire residents made their declaration six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed?
Last year, 4,748 New Hampshire residents declared their independence from debt and declared bankruptcy.
Did you know that the foundation for today’s modern bankruptcy laws was laid in the U.S. Constitution? Our Founding Fathers believed that all Americans at times of struggle deserve a hand-up and a fresh start.
If you are considering bankruptcy, this article is for you. We’ll summarize:
- New Hampshire bankruptcy exemptions (which are different than those of other states);
- The difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13;
- How to choose a bankruptcy lawyer; and
- How to get ready to work with a lawyer.
New Hampshire Bankruptcy Exemptions
When you file bankruptcy, you have to make decisions. One of those decisions is whether to use New Hampshire’s exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptions. You get to pick. (Many states don’t allow a choice; New Hampshire does).
Here is a summary of the New Hampshire bankruptcy exemptions that bankruptcy filers ask about most.
- Homestead up to $100,000.
- Motor vehicle up to $4,000.
- Personal property up to certain limits, depending upon the category.
These exemptions are doubled if you’re married and filing jointly. The exemptions typically end up protecting all property and most people who file bankruptcy don’t lose any assets.
Your Choices in Filing Bankruptcy in New Hampshire: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
A second choice you make during bankruptcy is whether you’ll file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If your income is high (higher than the state median income), the choice may be made for you.
- Filers must qualify for Chapter 7 by way of “the means” test. Chapter 7 tends to be for lower income earners who have a lot of credit card or medical bill debt.
- In most cases (but not all), if you’re income is higher than $53,177 and you’re filing as an individual with no dependents, the “choice” is made for you and your attorney will likely advise you to file under Chapter 13.
- Chapter 7 takes about 6 months and discharges credit card bills, personal loans, and medical bills.
- During Chapter 13, debts are repaid over a three to five year period.
Get good legal advice before you file.
How to Choose a Bankruptcy Attorney: 4 Tips
- Choose an attorney who is licensed in NH and focuses on bankruptcy law.
- Ask for a referral from friends or family members who have previously filed.
- Get names from the county bar association or search “Find a New Hampshire Bankruptcy Attorney” on the Internet.
- Take your top choice attorneys up on their offer of a free consultation to choose who is the best fit for you.
How to Prepare to Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney
Your bankruptcy attorney will need your financial information, so he or she can prepare your filings. Collect and organize a list of your assets, debts, monthly bills, and repayments made to any family members or friends in the last year.
When you sign your bankruptcy filing, you will be signing your own declaration of independence, financial independence.