Stop Car Repossession in Tennessee – Bankruptcy Lawyer
For most Tennessee residents, a car is a necessity. You need transportation to get to work and go to the grocery store, among other things. If you have fallen behind on your loan payments and are facing repossession by your lender, you do have options, such as filing for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy can be an effective way to stop car repossession proceedings, or at the least, settle your deficiency balance (the difference between what your lender sells your car for after repossession and your loan amount). When you file for bankruptcy in Tennessee, the lender must stop repossession efforts for your vehicle. You may even be able to get your lender to return your already repossessed vehicle.
To learn more about Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy code in Tennessee, contact The Pope Firm for a free consultation. Our qualified team has helped countless residents stop the repossession process, keep their vehicles, and get out from under the stress of excess debt.
Car Repossession in Tennessee
Repossession is a possibility if you used your vehicle as collateral for a loan, whether that be for the purchase of the vehicle or another purpose. If you don’t honor your loan agreements, your lender can—and likely will—put your car or vehicle up for repossession.
In Tennessee, a lender can repossess an RV, car, truck, motorcycle, or any other vehicle covered in a loan agreement.
A repo agent or lender does not need to notify you before beginning the vehicle repossession process. The lender also does not need to hold a court hearing. However, under Tennessee law, the car repossession company must inform you how you can retrieve your personal items from the repossessed vehicle or car. You will be given an appointment to claim your items.
What If I Hide My Car from Repossession?
You should not hide your car from repossession agents, as it will only lead to additional loan fees from your lender. While hiding won’t help, a lawyer might if the repossession company or your lender failed to follow certain laws and repossession regulations regarding how and where they can take your property.
Tennessee repossession laws state:
- Repossession agents may not come into your garage to recover your car uninvited.
- Repossession agents may not use violence to get your car.
- A repossession agent may not trick you into bringing your car to a vehicle repair shop.
Repossession laws give you a deadline by which to make a loan payment to your lender. After the deadline, the lender can repossess and sell your car.
When you file for bankruptcy in Tennessee, you can often keep your vehicle and may even be able to cancel fees on your loan or get a smaller monthly payment. That could make all the difference in your ability to get your finances in order, but the effectiveness of bankruptcy hinges on proper representation and experience. Call us to discuss your bankruptcy options today.
How Long Will a Repo Man Look for My Car?
Most Tennessee lenders hire a professional car repossession company to retrieve vehicles. The longer it takes them to find your vehicle, the more money you may have to pay back to the lender—and the lender may seek your vehicle indefinitely if they wish to do so.
As soon as you file for bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, though, the lender must temporarily stop repossession of your vehicle. This gives you the opportunity to find a debt relief agency and decrease your loan balance, negotiate your deficiency balance, or work out a forbearance agreement with your lender.
Get Help with Your Tennessee Vehicle Repossession Case
You don’t have to navigate the repossession process alone. We’re here to help you stop your car from being repossessed—call The Pope Firm bankruptcy law office and work with one of the top bankruptcy lawyers in Tennessee.
The information shared here should not be taken as legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
The Different Types Of Bankruptcy
Depending on your situation, there are different types, officially known as “chapters” of bankruptcy, that you can file for. These different chapters of bankruptcy provide different results for different cases, and it’s important to have some knowledge on these chapters before filing for bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a commonly filed for chapter of bankruptcy and is intended for use by low to moderate income individuals with more debt than they’ll ever be able to repay. If properly executed, this chapter of bankruptcy can eliminate most or all of a person’s unsecured debt. If you’re eligible, Chapter 7 could be a great debt relief solution for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Another great debt relief solution is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, that works great for people that aren’t eligible for chapter 7 bankruptcy. This chapter allows the debtor, or person that has borrowed money, to restructure their payment plans to be more manageable. At the end of this payment plan, most unsecured debts are discharged, or eliminated. This is sure to provide some much-needed breathing room for those people that feel in over their head, and are in need of some debt relief.
If you need assistance with personal or business bankruptcy and filing in Tennessee, reach out to The Pope Firm and Charles Pope, Attorney At Law.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Bankruptcy occurs when an individual, business, or other entity declares the inability to repay its debts. If you file for bankruptcy, that means that debt collectors must pause attempting to collect debts from you. Bankruptcy often allows you to erase most, if not all, of your debts.
There are two types of debts, unsecured and secured. Some examples of unsecured debts are credit card bills, medical bills, or taxes. Secured debts can include car loans or mortgages, which use the purchased item as collateral. In many cases, filing for bankruptcy can keep this collateral protected and prevent foreclosure of your home or repossession of other assets.
Bankruptcy is governed by federal legislation under the Bankruptcy Code, which falls under the greater United States Code. Both federal law and local law inform the bankruptcy procedure. Federal bankruptcy judges, appointed by the United States court of appeals, preside over court proceedings in these cases. In court, the judge and a court trustee, review your finances to determine whether or not to discharge the debts at hand.
Each state has one or more bankruptcy courts. Tennessee has six bankruptcy courts throughout the state.
Filing for bankruptcy can be a daunting process, and working with a firm with expertise in the field can provide you with necessary guidance.
There are several types of bankruptcy. Most individuals, married couples, and small businesses choose to file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
What are the Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
The primary difference between these two types is that Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows an entity to fully discharge its debts in a short period. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves reorganizing debts and creating a plan to repay those debts over an allotted time. After that time, Chapter 13 eliminates most of the remaining debts.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically filed by those with very limited income and unsecured debts, the most common of which is medical bills. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is most often filed by higher income bracket individuals and those with more assets, such as a car or a home. The motivation for filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often preventing assets from being repossessed or home foreclosure due to outstanding debts.
What Other Types of Bankruptcy Are There?
Two other types of bankruptcy are Chapter 11 and Chapter 12.
Chapter 11 primarily applies to larger companies and corporations, but sometimes it is the right choice for small businesses as well. Chapter 12 applies to those who are considered family farmers.
Various considerations get factored into who should file bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy may be the right choice for you if you are overwhelmed by debt. Regardless of what type of bankruptcy you file, as soon as the process begins, you are granted an automatic stay. A stay is an injunction that prevents creditors from collecting any debts for an allotted time. An automatic stay halts the process of, for example, foreclosing on a home or repossessing a vehicle.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge most of your debts. Filing Chapter 7 is appropriate for those who make less than the median household income in Tennessee and whose assets would not be at risk. In this situation, your non-exempt property is sold to pay off creditors.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to create a plan to repay your debts. If you have non-exempt property used as collateral in secured loans, you can restructure your finances to pay off any relevant debts over the next three to five years. Chapter 11 functions in a similar way, but is exclusively for businesses.
Filing for bankruptcy can provide a fresh start for those bogged down with debt, either by restructuring finances or discharging debts entirely.
How bankruptcy affects business depends upon the type of bankruptcy filed.
Businesses classified as corporations, partnerships, or LLCs can file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 allows for debt restructuring, while the business stays open. As in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, an automatic stay activates as soon as your bankruptcy period begins. In an automatic stay, creditors cannot try to collect money or other assets from you.
During this period, you work with your lawyer to restructure your debts and develop a plan to get your business back on track. This plan must be approved by some of your creditors and a bankruptcy court to go forward. You will be able to repay your debts over several years.
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges all of your business’s debts by liquidating your assets. The entire process can be completed quickly, often in several months. Chapter 7 allows for the discharge of most debts, excluding government taxes and fines.
Only individuals can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Thus, although businesses cannot file, you can file Chapter 13 as the sole proprietor of your business.
When you decide to begin the bankruptcy process, the first step is to find a lawyer who is an expert in filing bankruptcy in Tennessee. Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer can indeed be expensive, but it is worth the cost. This professional can guide you through what type of bankruptcy is best for your situation and what to expect throughout the process.
- Collect your documents: It is important to have everything from your paystubs to your credit report available before starting.
- Take the means test. This test will determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and help guide you in making a repayment plan for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Meet with a credit counselor. In the state of Tennessee, most individuals must meet with a credit counselor from an approved provider before filing for bankruptcy.
- Fill out bankruptcy forms. If working with a lawyer, you can expect they will use online programs to help you file your paperwork.
- Pay your filing fee. It costs $335 to file for bankruptcy in Tennessee. Waiver of the fee is possible in some cases, but it is uncommon. However, it is possible to pay the fee in several installments instead of the entire balance upfront.
Declaring bankruptcy wipes out many debts, but not all.
What Debts are Usually Covered by Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy can clear most unsecured debts, including:
- Credit card bills
- Medical bills
- Overdue utility payments
Bankruptcy can also clear many secured debts, but it depends on whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For Chapter 7, you will have to give up any non-exempt items you put up for collateral. For Chapter 13, they will become part of your repayment plan.
What Debts Are Not Covered by Bankruptcy?
- Child support
- Alimony obligations
- Those related to personal injury or death in a drunk driving case
- Any debts not listed on your bankruptcy papers
No type of bankruptcy covers these debts. If you file for Chapter 7, they remain outstanding. Under Chapter 13, you pay these debts along with your other debts.
What Debts May Be Covered?
Bankruptcy rarely covers student loan debt. However, it may be in some cases with proof of undue hardship.
Tax debt is also rarely covered, but bankruptcy may cover certain old unpaid taxes.