Top 5 Ways Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys At Law, Inc., Can Assist You With Your Estate Planning Needs

Top 5 Ways Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys At Law, Inc., Can Assist You With Your Estate Planning Needs

Estate planning is one of the most important topics people avoid.  While it is never easy discussing issues that relate to disability or death, it can easily save your family a world of trouble in the future.  Estate planning allows you to pre-plan for distribution of assets at the time of your death.  Estate planning also allows you to designate someone who can act for you in the event you are unable to do so for yourself.  By having the necessary documents in place, you (and most likely your family) can save thousands of dollars in legal fees by avoiding a guardianship or probate.

Why Hire An Estate Planning Attorney?

Once you start the process of getting your personal affairs in order, it’s important that you consider hiring an estate planning attorney. An estate planning attorney can advise you of all available options. The attorney can advise you about your personal assets and how to make the best decisions going forward. These decisions should not be made lightly, as most of the estate planning documents can be life changing, if not prepared with the skill of experienced counsel.

An estate planning attorney can also advise you about any potential tax consequences. Sometimes beneficiaries may be obligated to pay an inheritance tax on some items. An estate planning attorney can help you minimize your beneficiary’s tax liability, if any.

Here are the top five (5) ways that the experienced attorneys at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., can assist you with your estate planning needs:

Draft a Last Will and Testament:

A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that allows you to decide where your assets are to go upon your death.  Essentially, the Will tells the Probate Court in the county you reside how your assets should be disbursed.  This document requires special statutory drafting and signing requirements, which is why it is always recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced attorney.  An attorney can draft the document to remove all ambiguity, so your wishes remain intact in the event any of your assets require probate.  The document must be thoroughly written in order for the court to uphold it. A will can be altered at any time.

Prepare Real Estate Documents to Avoid Probate:

In most cases, any real estate that you owe at the time of your death does not have to pass through probate.  In Ohio, there are certain documents that can be recorded in your county to allow for an easy transition of ownership of your home.  The first document is called a Survivorship Deed.  This document is common between spouses and it contains special statutory language that allows the surviving spouse to transfer the deceased spouse’s interest at death.  An experienced attorney can review your current Real Estate Deed to determine whether a new deed must be created.

Another devise for easy transfer of real estate is known as a Transfer on Death Designation Affidavit.  In the even you are unmarried and are the sole owner of your property, this document can be drafted to allow a family member or friend to become the sole owner of your property when you pass away.  This is another way to avoid the need to probate the interest in your real estate.

Prepare a Durable Financial Power of Attorney:

A Durable Financial Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust (as well as two contingent agents) to act on your behalf in the event you become incapacity and unable to manage your financial wellbeing.  Your designated “Attorney In Fact” can do anything you can do for yourself in a financial capacity, such as access bank accounts, pay bills, sell assets, etc.  This document would also negate the need for a guardianship process through the Court, which can be costly and time consuming.  It is always best to consult an experienced attorney, as a decision to appoint a Power of Attorney should not be taken lightly.  You always want to pick someone you fully trust.  This document is only valid while you are alive and terminates upon death.

Prepare a Healthcare Power of Attorney:

Like the Durable Financial Power of Attorney, the Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a primary person to handle your medical affairs on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so for yourself.  This document governs health care decisions only, not financial.  This document is only valid while you are alive and terminates upon death.

Discuss the need for Beneficiary Designations:

A beneficiary designation on an asset can prevent said asset from going through the probate process.  Many financial assets already have a beneficiary designation built into the process, such a retirement account or life insurance.  However, most common financial accounts, such as a checking or savings account, may not already have a beneficiary designation on file.  An experienced attorney can discuss the specific assets that you have to make sure the correct beneficiary designations are made to protect those assets from going through probate.

Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., offer free estate planning consultations at all their Central Ohio offices: Columbus, Newark, Zanesville and Lancaster. The attorneys at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., are experienced in handling estate planning affairs. They will review all existing estate planning documents and advise their clients on how to proceed. Contact Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., to schedule your free consultation today.

© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2018; All Rights Reserved.


TOP 5 Reasons Why You Need An Estate Planning Attorney

TOP 5 Reasons Why You Need An Estate Planning Attorney

Many people that live in Central Ohio pass away with no will or any last preparations for their family.  It’s true, Estate Planning is often unpleasant to think about.  Nobody wants to think of their own demise, but there is some comfort in knowing that your affairs are squared away.  It is the responsible choice for helping family members cope with death.  The probate process can be difficult to navigate for any member of your family.  It is never a good idea to prepare such important documents alone.  At Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., we recommend that you seek experienced counsel who can ensure that your last wishes are respected and that you have the documentation in place to ensure a smooth transfer of your assets.


Here are the top five reasons why it is imperative to hire an estate planning attorney:

1. Avoiding Probate Court

Probate court can be a nightmare for anyone dealing with the passing of a loved one. Probate is a legal process that all estates must enter after a person passes, if there are titled assets that cannot pass without an appointed person to act. It is not a contentious process, but the assets can be tied up for months on end. Also, the probate fees can put a massive hole in the funds from the estate.

Many times, certain assets can be transferred outside the probate process with proper planning.  It is best to speak with experienced counsel, such as those at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., who can review the types of assets that you have to try and allow for passage outside probate.

2. Specific Desires Are Met

When there is no Will, the estate is governed by the intestate succession laws in the State of Ohio. Ohio has specific as to who is entitled to inherit and who has no standing to inherit. According to the legal relationship of the person that is deceased, these laws dictate how much each family member receives. Unfortunately, the regulations do not take into consideration the wishes of the deceased.


This can be detrimental if the deceased was unmarried, but cohabitated with a significant other for many years.  If there is no Will to provide for their inheritance, the significant other would receive nothing from the decedent’s estate.  The same goes for step-children, as there is no blood or marriage relationship.

3. Distribution of Assets

While money is a big concern when someone passes away, it is not the only apprehension. Distribution of assets is a significant source of contention among family members. It does not matter if the item has a significant or low economic value, family members may still fight over them. An attorney can draft a guideline that will specify who gets what, of any personal property. Even down to the smallest of personal effects, a Will can help avoid any family drama after a death.


There are also other ways that assets can be distributed upon death that do not require probate court intervention.  Real Estate, financial accounts, and life insurance (to name a few) can often be taken care of with proper beneficiary designations. This would allow that asset to pass outside a costly probate action.  Discussing your assets in depth with an attorney will allow you to make the right choices for your assets.

4. Design a Portfolio Of Assets

A portfolio of assets is a must for many people. The Will allows the beneficiary to be named for assets like pension plans, life insurance policies and other monies. Having this portfolio puts everything in one secure place, and it gives a clear picture of what goes where. Only an experienced estate planning attorney, like Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., can sort out the entire estate and make sure everything is in order when the time comes.

5. Burial Wishes Are Honored

Everyone has a different vision for their burial. Some want to be cremated while others prefer to be in a mausoleum. Some may want a modest service, and others want a big send off. The choice is rather personal, and unless it is written down with clear instructions, then it is hard for the family to know what to do. Control of the body does not come with the standard division of property. Cremated remains can also be a significant debate among family members. A savvy estate attorney can draft documents that ensure wishes for burial and ashes after cremation are honored.

Reliable legal advice from an estate planning attorney is valuable both today and in the future. Central Ohio has knowledgeable legal representation that can help deal with these delicate matters.  Call Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney who can design and estate plan that best fits your needs.


© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2018; All Rights Reserved.


Top 7 Reasons People in Ohio Filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2017

Top 7 Reasons People in Ohio Filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2017

Nobody likes to be in a desperate financial situation. There are times when the only option available for someone is to file bankruptcy. This is a reality for many people in Ohio. One of the most common types of bankruptcy to file is Chapter 7. There are also some very common reasons why people in Ohio seek bankruptcy protection.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy ?
This is a way for a person to have their debts discharged by the bankruptcy court. It starts when a person files a bankruptcy petition with the court requesting their debts be discharged. In Ohio, it is possible for a person to have much of their property exempt (protected from liquidation). The property that isn’t exempt will be sold. The money received from the sale of the property will be distributed to creditors.

Here are the top seven (7) reasons to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

1. Outstanding Medical Expenses
It is possible for people who have little or no health insurance to experience significant medical debt after a visit to the emergency room and having follow-up care. Most people do not have the thousands of dollars required for basic medical care, let alone life-saving medical treatments. In this situation, you may not have any other way to handle this debt but to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

2. Loss Of Employment
In the event of a job loss, it can be difficult to continue paying bills. In some case, people have started to borrow money to cover their living expenses.  This may cause a significant increase in credit card debt and even personal/pay-day loans to cover said expenses. Eventually, they are unable to pay back the money they owe.

3. Credit Cards
Some people find it easy to use credit cards to make their purchases, but also find it difficult to pay back the money they owe on them. Credit card debt can add up quickly and easily become overwhelming. Interest rates, which are already extremely high, could increase.  If payments are not made to the credit card, for at least the minimum balance, then late charges and other fees accrue, causing the balance to continue to rise.  Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stop collection efforts from credit card companies and more.

4. Divorce
The loss of a spouse’s income can cause a spiral for financial disaster.  One party may be required to pay child support or spousal support, thereby tightening an already decreased budget.  It’s also possible that the recipient of child support and/or alimony may still not have enough funds to cover basic living expenses. These are situations where people are unable to meet their financial obligations.  Often times, parties have joint debt with their former spouse, which cannot be paid on one income.  As such, divorced parties may find filing bankruptcy an option for any lingering debt.

5. Foreclosure
It is possible for people who are facing foreclosure on their home to have it delayed with bankruptcy. When a property owner files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, it will temporarily stop the foreclosure process. This may only last a few months. While a bankruptcy filing will only temporarily stall a foreclosure process from moving forward, the owner will not be able to keep the home in a Chapter 7 case.  The delay will allow the owner to find new housing, without the immediate threat of eviction.  In the event there is a desire to keep the home and get current on the payments, Chapter 13 would be the best remedy.

6. Student Loans
Many students graduate with a significant amount of student loan debt. This keeps them from owning homes, getting car loans and more. Student loans debt accounts for numerous Chapter 7 bankruptcies in Ohio.  While a Chapter 7 case will not allow for discharge of the Student Loans, it will delay any collection efforts, which may allow extra time to rehabilitate the loans or allow the person to apply for an income-based repayment plan.

7. Utility Payments
There are people who are not able to pay their utility bills. These bills can involve the use of gas, electric and can impact heating as well as air conditioning and more. These unpaid balances accumulating from month to month can quickly become an overwhelming amount.  Utilities can be included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and allow the old balance to be discharged, while a new account for services is activated.  Often times, the utility companies will require a security deposit to establish the new service, which is often far cheaper than paying the original, delinquent bill.

Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will provide people with important option for debt relief. It is designed to provide individuals with a fresh financial start. They will be able to regain control over their finances. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an important step toward having a positive financial future.

© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2018; All Rights Reserved.



5 Reasons to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Ohio

5 Reasons to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Ohio

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Ohio is a major step that requires careful consideration. Although there are a wide range of reasons that people file for bankruptcy protection, here are the top five reasons to consider filing when filing for Chapter 13.

Immediate Relief from Creditors

Bankruptcy has several benefits, but one of the most advantageous for filers is the automatic stay. Once the necessary documents are filed with the court, an automatic stay is put into place. The stay prevents creditors from taking any actions until a court has had an opportunity to review the filer’s debts.  The stay will often stay in place during the course of a Chapter 13 case, but there are instances where it can be lifted.

The stay could stop a repossession, eviction, and foreclosure. Creditors even have to stop calling and any other threatening communications with the filer. There are some exceptions to the stay that should be discussed with an experienced attorney at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., before filing.

To Avoid Liquidation of Possessions

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee assesses the value of a filer’s assets and sometimes sells them to pay off some of his or her debts. In a Chapter 13 filing, the filer can retain possession of his or her assets, if said assets are not protected by exemptions. The filer is required to submit a repayment plan that details how he or she plans to repay creditors.  The monetary value of said assets that are free and clear but not protected by an exemption, must be paid into the plan.

Filers who were on the verge of losing their homes, cars, and other assets to creditors have a better chance of keeping them. Most creditors are willing to accept the repayment plan and even renegotiate the terms of the original credit agreement to allow for retention.

Some Debts Are Discharged

Not all debts have to be repaid in a Chapter 13 filing in Ohio. Some debts can be discharged, which means the filer will no longer be responsible for repaying them. Discharged debts are usually unsecured debts that are not tied to collateral, such as credit card debts.  Unsecured creditors who do not file a timely claim in the Chapter 13 case are discharged upon successful completion of the plan.

Co-Debtors Are Not Left with the Debt

If a person chooses to file for a Chapter 7 and his or her obligation to a debt is discharged, the creditor could still pursue payment from a co-debtor. With a Chapter 13 filing, the co-debtor is not stuck with the obligation. As long as payments are being made on time, the co-debtor is financially and legally safe from the creditor.

Economic Fresh Start for the Filer

Filing for Chapter 13 in Ohio gives the debtor a chance to repair his or her credit. The economic fresh start would be otherwise difficult to obtain without the help of bankruptcy. Instead of facing financial ruin, a person could start over with a clean slate.

The time spent on the repayment plan also gives a filer a chance to learn how to better manage money and to plan for his or her financial future. He or she can also learn ways to avoid financial problems in the future.

Contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., to further explore the reasons to file for a Chapter 13. You can also learn about how to get the process started.  Call today to schedule your free consultation.

© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2018; All Rights Reserved.

What are the top 10 reasons someone would file bankruptcy in 2018?

What are the top 10 reasons someone would file bankruptcy in 2018?

In a day where Americans have only begun to recover from the recent recession, bankruptcy declarations have grown exponentially. According to estimates from US bankruptcy courts, well over a million people declare bankruptcy every single year.

Here are the top ten reasons why Americans file for bankruptcy:

Reduced Income

When a person’s employer decides to cut down on expenses, this can turn into a lighter paycheck to take home. If things go haywire, a reduced income can cause a person to declare bankruptcy.

Health Expenses

A study out of Harvard University said that over 60 percent of people who declared bankruptcy did so because of medical expenses. The same study also showed that the majority of people who filed bankruptcy on their medical bills had health insurance. The study served to debunk a dominant myth that people with significant health expenses don’t have health insurance.  Unfortunately, health insurance often does not cover expensive procedures, and most people cannot afford to pay their family deductible, which is often well over $6,000.00 to $12,000.00 annually.

Credit Cards and Credit Lines

Most people don’t get incur credit debt because of irresponsible behavior. They can get into this sort of trouble due to job loss, reduced income, medical emergency, or last-minute expenses.

Job Loss

Even if you get a big severance check, those funds can quickly run out. With no guarantee that you will immediately get a new job, things can get frantic quickly. Some people who have lost a job have had to declare bankruptcy to stay on their feet.

Last-Minute Expenses

An emergency can happen at any time. Whether you need to deal with a broken pipe, a busted car engine, or a sudden medical expense, these can cause a significant drain on your savings. If you have several unexpected emergencies, this can result in a financial picture that may need to end in a bankruptcy declaration.

Getting Divorced

These days, asking for an inexpensive divorce is like asking to see a pig fly. Getting separated and then divorced can result in a substantial loss of income and property for one or both parties. If you co-signed or opened an account with your soon-to-be former partner, you might need to take on extra debt.  With a divorce, an income is lost, which can make it difficult to manage daily household bills with one paycheck.

Utility Bills

Paying for air conditioning, electricity, and heating can take a significant chunk out of many people’s budgets. If the chunk becomes large enough, you might need to declare bankruptcy to get out from under the financial rubble.

Student Loans

So many Americans have gotten into trouble with their student loans that talk of a student loan “bubble” has yet to subside. According to statistics, at least 15,000 people declare bankruptcy each year because of student debt.  Unfortunately, student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, however, there are other options, such as a hardship discharge that can be explored with an experienced attorney, such as those at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc.


Managing money is a difficult task for many people. If you don’t reign in your spending, faulty financial habits can lead you down the road to bankruptcy.

Home Foreclosure

Often times, with a job loss or reduced income, the household bills can become unmanageable.  For some, making the house payment, while juggling credit card and medical bills can be daunting.  If a foreclosure is looming, filing for bankruptcy can help if surrendering the home is the best option, or if retention of the home is what is desired.

Filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision to make.  The best course of action is to ask for help and guidance from an attorney you can trust.  The attorneys at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., are here to help provide you the information you need to be able to make a wise decision regarding bankruptcy and whether it is right for you and your family.  Call us today to schedule your free consultation.

© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2018; All Rights Reserved.

What are the top 10 reasons someone in Central Ohio would file for bankruptcy in 2018?

What are the top 10 reasons someone in Central Ohio would file for bankruptcy in 2018?

According to USA Today, consumer debt has reached all-time highs in 2018, leaving many people feeling the heat and finding the need to file bankruptcy to overcome their financial burdens. Bankruptcy is often the solution for individuals who’ve accumulated mounds of debt they’re unable to repay.  Bankruptcy dissolves the monies due or offers a repayment solution suitable for the budget, depending upon which type of bankruptcy is filed. It may seem like a drastic solution to a debt problem, leaving many to wonder what type of issues cause a Central Ohio resident to turn to bankruptcy as their preferred financial resolution. Below are the ten (10) biggest reasons people throughout the state file bankruptcy when they’re in debt over their heads.

1- Foreclosure

One out of every ten home purchases end in foreclosure in Ohio. Losing your home is devastating, but bankruptcy can help. Most people turn toward this solution when faced with a potential foreclosure of their home.  Specifically, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case can also help someone retain their home by allowing the back payments to be paid over the course of three to five years, to get current on their mortgages.

2- Credit Cards

An average credit card debt of $5,792 is held by the average Ohio resident. As one of the biggest causes of consumer debt, it’s best to avoid usage of a credit card except in emergency situations.

3- Medical Bills

Medical care is not optional when your life or livelihood is on the line. Fortunately, medical care is provided regardless of an individual’s ability to pay for the services in many cases, leaving behind thousands of dollars in debt as result. Bankruptcy can help alleviate some of the burdens of medical bill debt.

4- Divorce

A divorce is a life-altering event that oftentimes leads to financial turmoil and debt. Once the debt accumulates, bankruptcy follows as a person learns firsthand that it may be difficult to live on one single income.

5- Vehicle

Many people make the irresponsible choice of purchasing a new vehicle they cannot afford. It is very attractive to the eye and hard to turn down, but even more painful when the car that was yours at one time is no longer. Bankruptcy may save your vehicle if you can afford it, or it can lead to filing to save yourself from further hardship.

6- Unemployment

Losing a job can be devastating to anyone’s life. Without income coming in, paying bills isn’t easy and can lead to mounting credit card debt, used to purchase gas and groceries.  Bankruptcy is often the solution when there is a long period of unemployment.

7- Personal Loans

A loan can provide a solution to a financial need, but it can lead to further problems if the money isn’t repaid. Failure to repay a loan can cause wage garnishment if bankruptcy is not filed.  These loans can come in the form of a personal unsecured loan, a personal secured loan, or a cash advance loans.  These loans often come with extraordinarily high interest rates causing the monthly payments to skyrocket.

8- Stress

With creditors calling your home and work at all hours of the day and night, letters and threats coming in the mail and inside your email box, and the worry of how you’ll overcome the debt is stressful. Many people who file bankruptcy do so to relinquish this health concern.  Court actions and threats of garnishment can also cause stress to grow out of control.

9- Satisfy Debts

Many people find that, if they were not properly insurance and get into a vehicle accident, the other driver’s insurance company can allow the BMV to suspend one’s license.  Filing bankruptcy can often mean that those license reinstatement fees, as well as any amount owed in property damage from the vehicle accident, are dischargeable.

10- Faster Recovery

When there are mounds of debt piling up, it is hard to sleep at night. It might be impossible to get a loan, a vehicle, or even rent a home with this tremendous debt standing in the way. Bankruptcy help allow for a fresh start and allows the ability to rebuild credit over time.

© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2018; All Rights Reserved.

Why might bankruptcy be the right choice for you in 2018?

Why might bankruptcy be the right choice for you in 2018?

The new year brings new changes. Many people use the new year to work on improving their finances. They may try to pay down debt, increase their income or save for an education. One of the things that many people consider during the new year is filing for bankruptcy.

A person that may consider filing for bankruptcy must determine if doing so is right for them. Bankruptcy is a helpful tool for eliminating debts that stand in a person’s way when they’re trying to get ahead. However, filing for bankruptcy is a serious process and it is important to speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney, such as the attorneys at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., to determine whether bankruptcy is the right option. There are drawbacks and limitations when a person files for bankruptcy. It’s important that the person considering filing for bankruptcy determines if bankruptcy is right for them. Here are five things to consider when determining if bankruptcy is the right choice in 2018:

1. The filer has more debts than income

Bankruptcy is a viable option when a person is unable to pay back their debts. When debts spiral out of control, bankruptcy allows a person to eliminate or restructure their debts. There are really two types of bankruptcy that a person might qualify for depending on their income and debts, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In some cases, the person can fully eliminate debt. In other cases, they make monthly payments in exchange for a discharge of some of the debts.

2. The circumstances aren’t going to change any time soon

When a person is in a situation where they are deep in debt with no sign of things turning around, getting rid of the debts can be well worth the cost of filing for bankruptcy.  Depending on the chapter, certain non-exempt assets may be liquidated in order to pay back a portion of the debt owed.  It is best to discuss whether a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy is the right choice for the given situation.

3. Debts involved are the type that are dischargeable

Not all debts can be eliminated in bankruptcy. Debts like child support, alimony, recent income taxes and student loans are generally not subject to discharge. Filing for bankruptcy may still be worthwhile if the debtor has a lot of unsecured debt like credit card debt that gets eliminated or reduced in a bankruptcy proceeding.  Bankruptcy can also be helpful if the debtor is behind on mortgage payments and wishes to surrender the home.

4. It’s been six years since the last bankruptcy filing date

A debtor can only file for bankruptcy after a certain period of years has passed since the date the prior case was filed.  A debtor can only file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy every eight years.  A debtor must wait four years from the filing of a Chapter 7 to file for Chapter 13 to be eligible for a discharge.  A debtor must wait six years after filing a Chapter 13 case in order to be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge.

5. The debtor is an honest debtor

The bankruptcy system helps honest people who get behind in their debts. When a person charges large amounts of debt for things like a vacation or other luxury items, the court won’t approve a bankruptcy petition soon after. Bankruptcy is a good way to get back on track when a person honestly falls on hard times.

Bankruptcy isn’t right for everyone. If someone has a large amount of debts, bankruptcy may be right for them. It’s important to look at the types of debts involved in the case to make sure that they’re dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings. There are benefits to filing for bankruptcy, and in the right circumstances, bankruptcy allows good people to get a fresh start.  It is important to discuss all available options with one of the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., before any final decision to file is made.  Call to schedule a free consultation with Zellar & Zellar today.


© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2018; All Rights Reserved.


What are my bankruptcy options if I have payday loans and student loans?

What are my bankruptcy options if I have payday loans and student loans?

A person has few options available when faced with a large amount of debt. While repaying the debt is the most obvious solution, it is not always a viable one. Bankruptcy is one option for those who cannot afford to repay their debts. Bankruptcy is a legal process where the Federal Bankruptcy Court decides whether to reduce or eliminate the debts, depending on the chapter of bankruptcy filed. Those who are considering bankruptcy are often confused about what debts can and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  An experienced attorney at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., can discuss the various bankruptcy options and determine the most advisable solution based on a specific person’s circumstances.

Student Loans

Student loans are one of the biggest sources of debt in the United States. Unfortunately, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  However, there are some exceptions, some of which do not require the filing of a bankruptcy case. A person who is permanently disabled can request a Hardship Discharge of their student loans by filing out a packet of information and submitting it to the Student Loan Servicer. Federal student loans obtained from schools that did not meet federal requirements may also be forgiven, by submitting a special packet of information to the Student Loan Servicer. Private student loans may also be discharged in some circumstances. For example, if the student loan was from a school that used fraudulent tactics to lure students, if the money was not used for a proper educational expense or if the school did not offer federal loans, then the private loans may be dischargeable in a bankruptcy proceeding.

In a bankruptcy proceeding, a person who can show that the repayment of their student loans would create an unnecessary hardship, can file an Adversary Proceeding with the Bankruptcy Court, and request that, based on their circumstances, the student loans should be discharged.  The Bankruptcy Court often looks to specific criteria to determine if someone meets the requisite hardship.  If someone is looking to determine if they meet the test for a hardship discharge of their student loan debt, it is recommended that they discuss their circumstances with an experienced attorney, such as those at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc.

Payday Loans

Payday loans are another common type of debt. While the amount of a payday loan may be small compared to the amount of most student loans, the high interest rates and unfavorable terms of payday loans make them very difficult to pay off. The good news is that payday loans are dischargeable debts that can be included in a bankruptcy case. Payday loans are treated by bankruptcy courts in the same way as other unsecured loans, such as credit cards. The court is free to rule on payday loan debt as it sees fit without having to follow the strict guidelines that are set for student loans.

Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision that should be discussed with an attorney.   As with any legal matter, there are always a number of factors that are used to determine which type of bankruptcy is best for a specific person. A person who is interested in learning more about having debt discharged in bankruptcy court should seek legal counsel to assist in making the right decision.  Please contact the attorneys at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your specific situation.

© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2017; All Rights Reserved.

How do the different chapters of Bankruptcy Work?

How do the different chapters of Bankruptcy Work?

Being indebted is a challenge that most people or companies will face in a lifetime. When a debt problem becomes overwhelming, filing for bankruptcy might be a viable option. An experienced bankruptcy attorney at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., will assist in determining which bankruptcy option is appropriate for your specific situation.  There are several bankruptcy options, such as Chapter 7 (Liquidation), Chapter 11 (Business Reorganization), Chapter 12 (Farmers) and Chapter 13 (Repayment Plan).

Chapter 7 bankruptcy: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often more geared towards individuals and married couples.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., deals with what is considered a “liquidation” form of Bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 will relieve you of many of your debts upon issuance of the discharge. Upon the filing of the Chapter 7 case, an “Automatic Stay” is invoked, which prevents creditors from contacting you concerning the collection of the outstanding debt. Chapter 7 will not clear all debts, as some debts are considered “non-dischargeable” such as certain taxes, student loans, child/spousal support obligations, which will still need to be paid after the bankruptcy case is completed.

Chapter 11: Chapter 11 bankruptcy is traditionally filed for businesses and corporations struggling with debts, and not individuals. When your company faces huge financial debts, Chapter 11 helps debtors as they find a fresh start. Chapter 11 does not make your commercial enterprise “go under.” However, you will get more time to restructure debts.

Chapter 12:  Chapter 12 is available to farmers and family farmers who generate most of not alll of their income from operating a farm.  It is a reorganization over time that allows the farmer who is Debtor to remain in possession of their farm and their assets and pay their debts back in a restructured manner over time.  The farmer can continue uninterrupted farming operations and can reduce secured debt and eliminate unsecured debts over time while keeping the farm operational.  It is like a chapter 13 on steroids for Farmers and it is a wonderful remedy to the family farmer in financial distress. It may offer the hope of saving the farm instead of losing it to the creditors.

Chapter 13: When Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers file for bankruptcy on your behalf, you will have a new financial beginning, but you will still pay some of the remaining debts.  Often times, this is an individual’s only other option for bankruptcy if they cannot qualify for a Chapter 7 Liquidation bankruptcy case.  If a debtor’s gross income is more than median IRS income for their family size, there is likely some amount of disposable income that can be used to pay at least a portion of their unsecured debts.  Another reason certain debtors choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to save their home from foreclosure, as a Chapter 13 can allow repayment of missed mortgage payments over five years as opposed to coming up with a lump sum reinstatement amount.  It is advisable to discuss this option with an experienced attorney at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., if you find yourself on the brink of a foreclosure action.

When do Debtors file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

As a liquidation bankruptcy strategy, Chapter 7 can wipe out all unsecured debts including medical bills and credit cards.  Chapter 7 can also discharge a mortgage debt if the debtor decides not to retain their home.  You are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you have no disposable income or have few assets. Chapter 7 requires the appointment of a trustee to administer the debtors case, which means if you have too much “stuff” or too much equity in the items that you own, the Trustee could liquidate that property and use the proceeds to pay your debts.  To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must be at or below median income for your family size, based on IRS income standards.

For Whom is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Suitable?

People who earn regular income can use Chapter 13 to reorganize debts. Chapter 13 has many benefits because debtors can repay unfulfilled mortgage payments over time, and not all at once. Chapter 13 allows you to retain your property, unlike in Chapter 7, where property may be lost in liquidation. In Chapter 13, you will pay all or part of the debts in an agreed repayment plan based on your income, type of debt, and expenses. Chapter 13 is appropriate for debtors who desire to catch up on child support, alimony, car purchase installments, or real estate mortgage arrearages. Your unsecured debts must not surpass $394,7255 and $1,184,200 worth of secured debts if you intend to use Chapter 13. A Chapter 13 case can last between three and five years, depending on your gross annual income.

If you are unsure which bankruptcy chapter works best for you and your family, contact the experienced attorneys at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., for a free consultation.  We have four conveniently located office in Zanesville, Newark, Lancaster and Columbus.  Call and schedule your appointment today.

© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2017; All Rights Reserved

How will filing bankruptcy affect my credit score?

The Credit Implications of Filing for Bankruptcy

It is never an easy decision to file bankruptcy.  Often times, medical expenses, job loss, or a family death can push someone towards filing for bankruptcy.  They know it’s the best thing for their situation and for their family but may wonder how long this will follow them around, and what filing for bankruptcy will do for their future. Here, an experienced bankruptcy attorney, such as the attorneys at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., will discuss the credit implications of filing for bankruptcy.

How does bankruptcy affect credit?

When determining how bankruptcy affects someone’s credit, they need to look at the type of bankruptcy they’re filing.  Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies can stay on a credit report for between seven and ten years after filing, but creditors look more favorable upon Chapter 13 as opposed to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is in part because Chapter 13 allows someone to continue paying on their debt over three to five years.

By contrast, they are not required to repay debts when they file Chapter 7 beyond liquidating non-exempt assets and paying creditors from those proceeds. Either way, both types of bankruptcy eventually put them in a better position to rebuild their credit because they’ve taken the steps to free up their obligations to pay their old debts, essentially starting over.

No doubt at first, someone’s credit report is not going to fare well with a new bankruptcy attached to it. But, over time, their credit report will, in fact, improve.  Additionally, if a Debtor has secured debt that they intend to keep (such as a car payment or mortgage payment), current payments on those obligations will also help rebuild credit.  As long as any new debt that the individual is able to obtain is paid on time, and that there are no other blemishes on their credit report, the bankrupt individual will see that with time, the credit score will improve.

There is no way to get through the bankruptcy process without having implications on someone’s credit. And, it’s possible that someone will not qualify for Chapter 13, leaving them with no choice but to file for Chapter 7. The best thing they can do for themselves is to contact an experienced attorney at Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., for more information on the entire bankruptcy process. One of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will review your entire situation in order to help make an informed decision.  Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.

© Zellar & Zellar, Attorneys at Law, Inc., 2017; All Rights Reserved