For individuals considering filing for bankruptcy in Nevada, there are many unknowns. Understandably, one of the most common questions asked by those considering bankruptcy is “Will I be able to keep my home?”
Fortunately, the answer in many cases is yes.
It is easy to see why so many individuals are concerned about losing their home in bankruptcy. A home is, after all, a piece of property and most people know that bankruptcy often involves a liquidation of an individual's assets in order to pay creditors.
But ask any homeowner if their house is just another piece of property and most will tell you that it is so much more than that. Fortunately, Nevada bankruptcy law acknowledges the important role a home can play in an individual's life and therefore does not treat a home as just another piece of property.
Rather, under Nevada's bankruptcy laws, a person filing for bankruptcy may be able to keep their home and temporarily suspend foreclosure proceedings.
Bankruptcy Can Provide You With An Opportunity To Keep Your Home
Unfortunately, for many Nevadans, filing for bankruptcy has a negative stigma attached to it. But the truth is, bankruptcy is often the best and most responsible decision an individual can make to improve their financial future. Nevada bankruptcy law also contains certain provisions which may increase a homeowner's ability to keep their home when facing foreclosure.
Nevada Automatic Stays
When an individual files for bankruptcy – whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 – an automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay places a temporary hold on many actions by creditors, including bill collection and foreclosure proceedings. The automatic stay will therefore put a temporary hold on any foreclosure proceedings already in progress while the bankruptcy case is pending.
Additionally, if a foreclosure proceeding has not yet begun, no proceeding will be initiated while the automatic stay is in effect. Though the automatic stay during bankruptcy is not a permanent solution for homeowners, the automatic stay can give the homeowner a temporary reprieve from creditor harassment and give the homeowner time to make more permanent arrangements or repayment plans.
Nevada Homestead Exemption
Nevada bankruptcy law creates several exemptions for certain types of property. These exemptions keep such property from being liquidated and distributed to creditors in order to settle debts.
Fortunately for individuals considering bankruptcy in Nevada, there is a “homestead” exemption that may entitle the individual filing for to keep their home.
Under Nevada bankruptcy law, more than just the traditional definition of a “home” may be eligible for the homestead exemption. The Nevada definition of homestead accounts for multiple types of homes and includes property consisting of:
- A quantity of land with a house thereon.
- A mobile home, whether or not the debtor owns the land on which it rests.
- A condominium.
Under Nevada law, a homeowner will not be forced to sell or liquidate a residence that qualifies as a homestead.
However, the homestead exemption only extends to property up to $550,000 in value. In order for the homestead exemption to apply, the person filing for bankruptcy must first declare his or her homestead.
Nevada law requires that the person seeking a homestead exemption submit a document “declaring an intention in writing to claim the property as a homestead.” The declaration must then be signed by the owners of the property and recorded with the Nevada Real Estate Division.
The declaration of homestead form and other necessary forms are available at the Nevada Real Estate Division's website. Click here to download the form as a pdf.
Keeping Your Home When Filing for Chapter 13
Unlike Chapter 7, which generally requires the liquidation of non-exempt property, an individual filing for Chapter 13 will have their debts reorganized. Under Chapter 13, a debtor must create a payment plan which will allow the debtor to repay any debts overtime.
Upon the successful completion of this Chapter 13 repayment plan, the debts will generally be forgiven. However, It can be difficult to create a repayment plan that will be approved by the bankruptcy court and manageable for the debtor.
Because keeping a home can hinge upon the successful completion of the Chapter 13 plan, it is imperative to obtain the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help create a manageable repayment plan. To discuss the specifics of your case, contact 702-DEFENSE today.
Alternatives to Bankruptcy – Debt Negotiation
If bankruptcy is not the individual's preferred option, there may still be hope to keep the property through debt negotiation. In some circumstances, lenders may want to avoid foreclosure and may be willing to negotiate with the homeowner facing foreclosure.
Debt negotiation may allow the individual to come to an agreement with his or her lender to lower the monthly amount owed and create a more manageable repayment schedule.
Though debt negotiation may be a viable alternative to bankruptcy, the process can be complex and time consuming. It is important to hire an experienced Nevada debt collection attorney when contacting your lenders. An attorney will know the respective rights of both homeowners and lenders, thereby putting the attorney in a better bargaining position than a homeowner attempting to negotiate debt settlements on their own.
Additionally, government programs designed to help struggling homeowners – like the Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP – can offer some relief to homeowners in the form of loan modification or reduced mortgage payments.
Why should I hire an attorney?
When facing foreclosure or considering filing for bankruptcy, an individual's emotions often run high. This is entirely understandable, but emotions have the potential to prevent an individual from making the best possible decision for his or her financial future.
The Nevada bankruptcy attorneys at 702-DEFENSE can discuss the specifics of your case and provide you with multiple options, discussing the pros and cons of each option, thereby allowing you to make the best decision possible for your financial future.
To discuss your unique circumstances, contact 702-DEFENSE today.