Idaho is the land of gems and potatoes. Unfortunately under pressure, mountainous piles of your debt won’t magically turn into a star garnet that Idaho is known for. If you’re weighed down by medical bills, credit card debt or unpaid tax bills, life can become miserable pretty quickly. Thankfully, you don’t have to stay bogged down with your bills.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can change your financial situation. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy puts a stop to creditor harassment, it can halt foreclosures, and it can lift garnishments or frozen bank accounts. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you the freedom to start your life over.
Get a Fresh Start— File for Bankruptcy, Chapter 7
Say goodbye to medical bills, credit card debt, old tax debt, loans and all of the other debts that’s weighing you down. Once you file your bankruptcy petition (a petition is a set of your financial documents) with the court, the positive effects begin. By law, creditors are not allowed to contact you while you are in a bankruptcy. All negotiations and communication are handled by your bankruptcy attorney.
However, there are some debts that cannot get discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy attorney will counsel you on your specific financial situation, but typically, the following debts cannot be discharged:
- School Loans
- Recent taxes and tax liens
- Alimony or child support payments
If you are unsure about what debts will be discharged in your bankruptcy, contact a local Idaho bankruptcy attorney for specific legal counsel.
Do You Know if You Meet the Bankruptcy Requirements?
The first way a bankruptcy attorney determines if you can file for bankruptcy is through your income level. The median income level varies by state and can change annually. For residents who wish to file in Idaho the average income level is broken down by family size:
- One individual: $39,050
- Two individuals: $48,648
- Three individuals: $55,453
- Four individuals: $61,480
- More than four individuals: add $7,500 per person to the base income.
Note that these levels may change from year to year.
Idahoans must fall at or below the income level listed above based on their family size. If you exceed the income level there is one other way you may qualify for Chapter 7. The means test is another procedure the bankruptcy court uses to examine your debt to asset ratio. A bankruptcy attorney can help individuals determine whether a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will benefit their current financial situation by applying the means test to your circumstances.
When you go to meet with your bankruptcy attorney, you’ll need to bring the following documents with you to your initial meeting:
- A list of your debts, and creditors including address and contact information.
- Your last six months’ worth or paystubs.
- Last year’s filed tax return. (You may be required to bring additional tax information as well.)
Your bankruptcy attorney will then help you fill out the Chapter 7 petition, which needs to be filled out correctly. An improperly completed Chapter 7 petition will be dismissed immediately, and you’ll have to go through the process all over again.
The best part is that once you file for Chapter 7, by law your creditors can no longer contact you – they’ll have to deal directly with your bankruptcy attorney. Not only will you not have to avoid them and worry about having your wages or bank account garnished, but you will soon be able to live the life you originally dreamed of, without the debt.
What About My Home? Won’t I Lose Everything?
Idaho residents don’t need to worry about their personal property because much of it is protected by the Bankruptcy Reform Act that was put into place in 2005. This act allows debtors to keep a primary residence and a number of other assets including:
- House: A home up to $100,000 is exempt.
- Wages: Up to 75% is exempt not including taxes.
- Automobile: $7,000
- Home goods – A group limit of $7,500 is available for the items below with a per-item limit capped at $750.
- Animals (including pets)
- Musical instruments
- Family portraits and heirlooms
- Jewelry: $1,000
- Implements for a business (tools of trade): $2,500
- 100% of 12 months’ worth of food and provisions
- 100% of water rights for irrigation purposes
- Up to $1,000 worth of crops
- 1 firearm worth up to $750
- Personal property: $800
- Pensions and benefits – 100% of the following:
- Qualified pension/profit-sharing plan
- Public employee's retirement fund benefits
- Workers' compensation benefits
- Crime victim's compensation
- Firemen's retirement benefits
- FEMA benefits Federal civil service disability and death benefits
- Military Survivor Benefit Plan annuities
- ERISA benefits
- Public safety officers' death benefits
- Veterans Administration benefits
- Medal of Honor exemption (for qualified persons in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard)
- Longshoremen and harbor workers' medical, disability and benefits
- Miscellaneous benefits:
- 100% Crop insurance proceeds
- 100% Certain retirement accounts defined by the IRS
- 100% Liquor license
- 100% Unmatured life insurance contract other than credit life insurance
- 100% Seamen's clothes
The amounts and type of exemptions available may change annually. It is essential that you speak with a bankruptcy attorney about the exemptions apply to your financial situation. He or she may be able to find additional exemptions depending on your circumstances.
You shouldn’t feel buried alive by your debt. With the help of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney you can free yourself from hassling creditors forever. Once you have filed for bankruptcy and followed the steps, you will be well on your way to enjoying the freedom you deserve. Give yourself a second chance today.
Idaho Bankruptcy Courts
James A. McClure Federal Building
and United States Courthouse
550 West Fort Street, Room 400
Boise, Idaho 83724-0101
Phone: (208) 334-1361
Coueur d'Alene, Idaho Bankruptcy Court
6450 North Mineral Drive, Room 149
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83815
Phone: (208) 665-6850
Pocatllo, Idaho Bankruptcy Court
Federal Building and United States Courthouse
801 East Sherman Street, Room 119
Pocatello, Idaho 83201-5730
Phone: (208) 478-4123