Are you facing overwhelming debt and looking for debt and financial relief? The Baltimore bankruptcy lawyers The Law Offices of John P. Downs understand that you would not be on this page if you were not considering bankruptcy and barely hanging on financially. As one of Baltimore’s most reliable debt relief agency, we can offer individuals, couples and families immediate relief from harassing phone calls, collection letters, and wage garnishment. In addition, with the help of our skilled Baltimore bankruptcy lawyers we can STOP the foreclosure process AS WELL AS prevent your vehicle from being repossessed. Do not let another day go by or endure another sleepless night due to your financial struggles. Contact an experienced Baltimore bankruptcy attorney now to discuss your rights.

It is a well known fact that creditors want to boss you around and are bullies. Once you file bankruptcy they legally cannot contact you anymore. Call the Baltimore bankruptcy lawyers at for a free consultation.

The Benefits Of Filing Bankruptcy In Maryland

Beyond that, our bankruptcy attorneys in Baltimore will fight to safeguard your personal and business assets while crafting solutions tailored specifically to your unique financial difficulties. Our team of Baltimore bankruptcy attorneys can protect your assets from liquidation, defend against creditor lawsuits, and, in some cases, discharge your second mortgage, enabling you to keep your house.

Filing for bankruptcy is not for everyone as in some cases it does not make sense. As experts in consumer credit and Maryland bankruptcy law, our bankruptcy attorneys can offer you various alternatives to bankruptcy that afford many of the same protections.

You’re just one step away from resetting your finances and starting fresh, so contact us online, visit our Baltimore County bankruptcy law office right now.

Things To Know If You’re Considering Bankruptcy

If you’re considering bankruptcy, the first thing you should do is talk to our Baltimore Maryland bankruptcy attorneys at our Baltimore bankruptcy law firm. Maryland bankruptcy laws are complicated and always changing, so you’ll need professional counsel to navigate the process. However, there are some bankruptcy basics that every Maryland resident should know:

Is Bankruptcy Right For You

The best way to decide whether bankruptcy is right for you is to meet with our Baltimore bankruptcy lawyers who specialize in bankruptcy and debt solutions. A good bankruptcy attorney will provide a free consultation, charge a reasonable fee, set up a payment plan you can afford, and demonstrate a solid track record of successfully handling bankruptcies like yours. Our Baltimore bankruptcy attorneys should also thoroughly discuss the different chapters of bankruptcy and alternatives to bankruptcy so you can make the decision that’s right for you and your financial future.

Benefits Of Filing Bankruptcy

Your bankruptcy attorney will ensure you take full advantage of the many benefits of filing for bankruptcy in the Baltimore, Towson, Annapolis, Bel Air and Elkton, MD areas. First and foremost, bankruptcy can effectively wipe out most, if not all, of your credit card debt and other unsecured debt. Bankruptcy can also stop repossession of your home or car and will immediately stop creditors from contacting you by phone or mail. While bankruptcy will show up on your credit report for up to ten years, you can benefit from bankruptcy by rebuilding your credit immediately. Our Baltimore bankruptcy attorneys can share with you lending institutions that work with individuals who have less-than-perfect credit scores.

What Bankruptcy Cannot Do

As you work with our Baltimore bankruptcy lawyers to decide whether or not to file for bankruptcy, it’s important to know what bankruptcy can’t do. Bankruptcy usually can’t get rid of student loans, as it’s very difficult to prove that repayment of student loans would cause undue hardship. Also, bankruptcy can’t wipe out child support and alimony obligations; you’ll still be required to pay those amounts in full. While bankruptcy can dismiss many debts, it typically does not eliminate liens that allow creditors to repossess property not paid for; in some cases, though, bankruptcy attorneys can help Baltimore County residents keep their property. Bankruptcy also can’t automatically waive tax debt, but the experienced Baltimore bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Offices of John P. Downs can increase your odds of discharging unpaid taxes.

Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions

If you are filing bankruptcy in Maryland, whether it be a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 you can use Maryland’s bankruptcy exemptions to protect your property.  Exemptions are specific laws that allow you to protect certain property from your creditors, such as your car or home. If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can keep the items that are protected by Maryland’s bankruptcy exemptions. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Maryland’s bankruptcy exemptions play a role in how much you repay your creditors through your Chapter 13 plan.

Maryland Debtors to Use State Exemptions

Maryland has its own exemption laws and has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions, which means that when you file a bankruptcy in Maryland, you may only exempt property using the Maryland exemptions. You may, however, also use any of the applicable federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. The federal non-bankruptcy exemptions protect property such as federal and military retirement funds and veteran’s benefits.

Married Couples May Double Maryland Exemptions

Under Maryland law if you are married and file a joint bankruptcy in Maryland you are allowed to “double” the exemptions. This means that you and your spouse may each claim the full exemption amount for any property belonging to you. You may only claim an exemption and protect property that belongs to you.

Below is a list of commonly used Maryland bankruptcy exemptions. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Maryland Code Annotated.

Homestead

Up to $22,975 of equity (if your home is worth $120,000 and you owe $60,000 on the mortgage, you have $60,000 of equity in your home) in any real property (house, condominium, or co-op) that you use as a residence. It also includes a manufactured home that you have converted to real property pursuant to § 8B-201 of the Real Property Article. The Maryland homestead exemption may only be claimed once every eight years and married couples may not double the homestead exemption. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(f)

Personal Property

Up to $5,000 in tools of your trade, including clothing, books, tools, and inventory. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(b)(1)

Professionally prescribed health aids. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(b)(3)

Appliances and furnishings, clothing, pets, and books for use by you or your dependents. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(b)(4)

Burial plot. Md. Code Ann., [Bus. Reg.] § 5-503

Maryland does not have a motor vehicle exemption, but you may use your wildcard exemptions to protect equity in your vehicle.

Public Benefits & Support

Court-ordered child support payments. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(b)(6)

Alimony, to the extent that wages are exempt from attachment under § 15-601.1(b)(1)(ii) or (2)(i) of the Commercial Law Article. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(b)(7)

Public assistance benefits – Human Services § 5-407(a)(1),(2)

Retirement Benefits

ERISA-qualified benefits and IRAs. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(h)(1)

State employees retirement accounts and benefits. Md. Code Ann., [State Pers. & Pen.] § 21-502

Wildcard Exemptions

Cash or property up to $6,000 in value. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(b)(5) and an additional $5,000 of value in personal property. Md. Code Ann. [Cts. & Jud. Proc] § 11-504(f)(1)(i)(1).

Insurance and damages

Disability or health benefits, including court awards, arbitration awards, & settlements. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc.] § 11-504(b)(2)

Fraternal benefit society benefits. Md. Code Ann., [Ins.] § 8-431; Md. Code Ann., [Est. & Trusts] § 8-115

Life insurance or annuity contract proceeds when beneficiary is the insured’s dependent, child, or spouse. Md. Code Ann., [Ins.] § 16-111 (a); Md. Code Ann., [Est. & Trusts] § 8-115

Medical insurance benefits deducted from wages plus medical insurance payments to $145 per week or 75% of disposable wages. Md. Code Ann., [Com. Law] § 15-601.1 (3)

Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Lost Future Earnings Awards

Settlements or awards that you receive as the result of any person’s injury or illness or wrongful death; lawsuit or settlement awards for lost future earnings.  Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc.] § 11-504 (b)(2).

Confirming the Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions

This list includes some of the more common Maryland bankruptcy exemptions, but there are numerous other exemptions available to protect specific property. To learn more about Maryland bankruptcy exemptions please contact the Baltimore bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Offices of John P. Downs.

How A Baltimore Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You

Maryland bankruptcy laws are very complex and filing bankruptcy is most easily done with the help of an experienced Baltimore bankruptcy attorney. Contact The Law Offices of John P. Downs today for a free consultation with one of their skilled bankruptcy attorneys.