Thinking of filing bankruptcy? Before you do, pull out your calendar and the phone number for your bank. The day you choose to file could save you (or cost you) thousands of dollars.
Here's why: the assets that you own on the day you file are the only assets that are considered in your case. That means they're the only ones that creditors may be able to get to. Some assets pretty much retain the same value during the course of a month, like your car or your home furniture, for example. But the money in your checking account tends to fluctuate day to day. Right after you deposit your paycheck, your account has a higher balance. For a brief moment, it looks like you're flush, right? Then comes time to pay all the bills. You start writing checks for rent, electric, cable, groceries, gas, health insurance, and all your other regular expenses. Pretty soon those checks clear and your account is back to that minimum balance again.
That's the day you want to file your bankruptcy - when all your bills for the month have been paid, and your account balance is at its lowest point. It doesn't matter if you're going to deposit your next paycheck the day after filing bankruptcy: It is the balance in your account on that day that you file that counts as your asset. And not all assets are exempt. Research your state's particular wage exemption laws, or consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in the state where you'll be filing your petition. The type and amount of wages in a bank account which are exempt from creditor attachment varies from state to state.
No matter which state you live in, it's always a good idea to file your bankruptcy when your bank account is at its lowest balance. And here's one last thing to keep in mind: just because you wrote those checks doesn't mean your account balance reflects it. So don't go by what's written in your checkbook register - go online or call your bank to get an exact account balance before you file your bankruptcy petition. This simple little strategy can save you thousands of dollars that might otherwise go to your creditors in bankruptcy.
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