Brett Weiss literally wrote the book on individual Chapter 11 cases.
As co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, published by LexisNexis, along with his over thirty years as a practicing attorney, Mr. Weiss has the depth of knowledge, insight and experience necessary to help you with your complex financial issues. A frequent lecturer on the new Chapter 11 Small Business Relief Act, he knows how to restructure both business and individual debt to stop banks and debt collectors and let you move forward in your life without the crushing weight of debt problems.
Chapter 11 lets you pay back your creditors, in whole or in part, over an extended period of time. Perhaps the biggest benefit of Chapter 11 is its ability to let you restructure mortgages on your investment property. You may be able to lower, or “strip down,” the principal balance of your mortgage to the current market value of the property, reduce the interest rate, wipe out arrearages and reamortize the loan over decades. You can remove second and third mortgages and judgment liens from underwater properties, including your home. You can stretch out repayment plans for your mortgage for up to 30 years, making those arrearage payments affordable. You can catch up payments owed to the IRS and state taxing authorities (including property taxes). Unlike Chapter 13, there is no limitation on the amount of debt, or its type, to qualify for Chapter 11.
The Automatic Stay that goes into effect once your Chapter 11 case is filed immediately stops most collection actions, including collection calls and letters, bills, foreclosures, lawsuits, garnishments, bank attachments, even IRS levies. There are things it doesn't stop, such as criminal cases and some child support actions. Under some circumstances the Automatic Stay may exist for only a short period of time.
Sound too good to be true? It's not. That's simply what a Chapter 11 filing is designed to do.
A Chapter 11 starts when your petition is filed with the Court. Documents relating to income and expenses, debts, property (real estate as well as personal property—your “stuff”), and other financial disclosures must be prepared and filed.
Filing a petition under Chapter 11 stops most collection actions. The automatic stay stops foreclosures, garnishments and attachments—as well as creditor calls and letters—as soon as you file the petition.
Most Chapter 11 cases take between six and twelve months between filing and when your Chapter 11 Plan is approved, or confirmed, by the Court. The Small Business Relief Act provides for a shorter timeframe and streamlined procedures for some aspects of Chapter 11.
Chapter 11 cases are the most difficult and complex under the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 11 wasn't really designed for individuals and small businesses, and many of the hoops you must jump through are the same ones that a large company must jump through. You need bankruptcy counsel who isn't put off by a Chapter 11. It's an involved and complex process. And to be honest, it isn't cheap. But the benefits of a Chapter 11 can be enormous. Very few consumer and small business bankruptcy attorneys have the knowledge or experience to handle your Chapter 11 case.
Listen to an interview with Brett Weiss and Dan Press, authors of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, in the LexisNexis Legal Newsroom.