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The Bills Are Killing Me

You are not alone. Life happens to all of us, and for some it hits us really hard in the bank account. Here is a list of famous people who each had to file bankruptcy at one time or another:

  • Abraham Lincoln – 16th president of the Unites States- twice filed bankruptcy
  • Ulysses S. Grant – 18th president of the United States
  • Thomas Jefferson – founding father, author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd president of the United States
  • William McKinley – 25th president of the United States
  • Dave Ramsey – national radio host and financial guru, went bankrupt before he learned how to get out of debt in a sensible way
  • Walt Disney – really? Mickey Mouse and Disneyland
  • P.T. Barnum – the circus guy filed for bankruptcy in 1871
  • Mark Twain – American author
  • Oscar Wilde – playwright
  • Henry John Heinz – condiment manufacturer famous for Heinz ketchup
  • Milton Hershey – founder of Hershey’s chocolate
  • Henry Ford – automobile manufacturer
  • J.C. Penney – founder of the department store chain
  • Mickey Rooney – actor
  • Johnny Unitas – NFL Hall of Fame quarterback
  • Dorothy Hamill – figure skater, Olympian
  • Bjorn Borg – tennis star
  • Jerry Lee Lewis – rock and roll star
  • Sherman Hemsley – aka George Jefferson of “The Jefferson’s” sitcom
  • Gary Busey – actor
  • Nicholas Cage – actor
  • Kim Basinger – actress, former wife of Alec Baldwin
  • MC Hammer – entertainer, musician, dancer
  • Willie Nelson – country music legend
  • Larry King – talk show host
  • Donald Trump – filed two separate Chapter 11 for his hotels/casinos
  • Mike Tyson – boxer, filed Chapter 11
  • Joe Lewis – boxer
  • Warren Sap – NFL football player
  • Terrell Owens – NFL football player
  • Leon Spinks – boxer
  • Stephen Baldwin – actor
  • Jose Conseco – MLB baseball player
  • Vince Neil – lead singer of “Motley Crue”

But, bankruptcy may not be for you. Beleive it or not, you may be in a better position than Jose Consexo or Nicolas Cage. If you can avoid bankruptcy, you should. But, bankruptcy may be for you if you (a) have dischargeable debts, and (b) have no reasonable way of resolving your debt outside of bankruptcy.

If bankruptcy is heading your way, first: don’t panic! It is heart wrenching, but it is not the end of the world. Remember Dave Ramsey, from the list? He learned from his mistakes, and went on to make a fortune in real estate and teaching others the principles of financial management.

Here are two words you need to learn: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy (bankruptcy lawyers are referring the the chapters of the bankruptcy law) is a legal process that can get rid of certain debts and give you a chance for a fresh start, but it doesn’t get rid of all debts. You will still have to pay child support, alimony, unpaid taxes, your mortgage, and federally insured student loans.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you set up a payment plan to pay off your debts.

The debts that bankruptcy can help with are known as private, unsecured debt. If you have these kinds of debts, you may be able to get rid of them by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • credit card bills,
  • medical bills,
  • utility bills, and
  • personal loans.

The rules are different for other debts, such as

  • child support;
  • alimony;
  • taxes;
  • most student loans;
  • secured debts (like a mortgage or car loan);
  • debts not listed on your bankruptcy papers (including debts you get after filing bankruptcy);
  • debts where you were dishonest;
  • drunk driving fines, criminal fines, traffic tickets, and more.

If you are thinking about bankruptcy, call us now to discuss your options.