Bankruptcy in New Mexico
Have you heard of Conrad Hilton? (As in Paris Hilton and Hilton Hotels?) Conrad Hilton is great-grandfather to Paris and the founder of Hilton hotels. And, this is where it gets interesting, did you know that Conrad was originally from New Mexico and he filed bankruptcy?
Today, The Hilton family, as a whole, is thought to be worth billions, but only because Conrad Hilton got a fresh start through bankruptcy. If Conrad can start over and do good things, so can you.
In this article, we’ll show you how New Mexico bankruptcy law differs from the laws other states; discuss whether you should file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13; guide you in selecting a bankruptcy lawyer; and get you ready to work with a bankruptcy attorney.
How New Mexico Bankruptcy Law Differs from the Laws of Other States
In New Mexico, residents can choose between using federal or state bankruptcy exemptions. Exemptions determine how much property you can protect when filing Chapter 7 or how much you have to pay back to creditors under Chapter 13.
Here are some examples of New Mexico exemptions. We’ve included those that people ask about most. Be sure to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to determine how the exemptions can protect your property in your individual case.
Note that married persons, filing bankruptcy jointly, are entitled to double these amounts.
- Homestead $60,000
- Motor Vehicle $4,000
- Clothing, furniture, jewelry, and health aids up to $2,500
Federal law determines bankruptcy procedure in New Mexico and every other state. In addition, federal law exempts retirement accounts.
Your Choices in Filing Bankruptcy in New Mexico: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
If your income is less than $38,422 (and you are single with no dependents) and most of your debts are dischargeable, Chapter 7 is likely for you. If you make more money, but have dependents, you may also qualify. For example, a family of four can have an income of $56,365 and still qualify for Chapter 7.
- Chapter 7 discharges unsecured debts such as medical bills, personal loans, and credit card bills.
- The process takes about 6 months.
If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7 (and be sure to let your bankruptcy lawyer make this decision because there are exceptions to the median income rule), consider Chapter 13.
- Chapter 13 discharges some debts and reorganizes the rest so that you can afford to pay them.
- The process takes about 3 to 5 years.
Selecting a Bankruptcy Attorney
You need an expert; so, look for a lawyer who has experience in bankruptcy law and focuses practice on bankruptcy issues. Make sure the attorney is licensed in New Mexico.
Personal referrals are always the best way to find a professional. Other ways are to contact your local bar association or do a search for “Find a New Mexico Bankruptcy Attorney”.
Most bankruptcy laws offer a free, no obligation consultation so you can determine whether you’d like to work with that particular attorney.
Preparing to Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll be hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. He or she is an expert in his field, so trust them and take any advice given. After all, that’s what you’re paying for.
But know that you must provide a lot of information so that your bankruptcy attorney can guide you and make good decisions. Pull together your recent tax returns, bills, expense list, repayments made in the last year, income, and a list of your assets. The more information you give to your attorney, the better the advice you’ll receive.
By the way, you don’t have to own one of the largest hotel chains in the world to be successful; make your own success with the fresh start bankruptcy affords you.