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Is choosing bankruptcy a bad idea?

While you may feel it's admitting defeat to enter into bankruptcy, the truth is that it's a real possibility for getting out of debt and starting over. Choosing bankruptcy doesn't mean you've failed. It means you're strong enough to admit that you need help and want to take steps to change your finances.

Bankruptcy has its positives and negatives. For example, if the majority of your debt is from school loans or tax debts, you may be unable to discharge those and a bankruptcy may not be as helpful as it would be if you had unsecured debts. If you declare bankruptcy, you will also lose all your credit cards, and your credit score will suffer.

The benefits can outweigh the disadvantages of a bankruptcy, though. For instance, bankruptcies can result in older tax liabilities being dismissed. It can help stop lenders from harassing you or aggressively collecting. Once you enter into bankruptcy, lenders and credit collectors are unable to call you, harass you, send you letters or to try to collect from you. They need to speak with your attorney instead.

While it's normal to lose your credit cards in bankruptcy, there's a possibility that you may be able to keep one or two, depending on your circumstances. Your attorney can help you determine if this is a possibility in your case.

Everyone's situation is different. While there are positives and negatives to consider, your attorney can help you understand what a bankruptcy has the potential to do for you. There are a few types you may be able to consider.

Source: FindLaw, "Bankruptcy: Advantages and Disadvantages," accessed May 26, 2017

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