Who Files For Bankruptcy?

April 30, 2012

Financial difficulty crosses all socio-economic lines. Its not just "poor" people that file for bankruptcy relief, sometimes "rich" people file also. Recently former NFL player Warren Sapp filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Florida. Despite earning an estimated $40 million during his career, and a monthly income in excess of $100,000, he now seeks protection from more than $6 million in debts.

Each year celebrities and athletes file bankruptcy, but rarely does a federal judge need the protection of the federal bankruptcy laws. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Judge Otis Wright II of California’s Central District has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is an "erase-your-debts-and-start-fresh" bankruptcy. Creditors during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy generally receive little or nothing through the liquidation of the debtor’s assets.

Judge Wright’s bankruptcy petition and schedules show that he has assets of $833,426 and liabilities of $895,292, including more than $70,000 in credit card debt. Federal judges make about $174,000 per year. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee plans to put Wright’s California home in Los Angeles County on the market to pay his creditors. The asking price is about $1.2 million with a debt of about $800,000.

Prior to filing bankruptcy Judge Wright and his wife drained his retirement funds to creditors. While his efforts to try and pay creditors were admirable, retirement funds are generally protected during bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy attorney will often advise against cashing out retirement funds to pay debts that may be paid or discharged during the bankruptcy case.

Bankruptcy is a federal legal process to reorganize your finances and free you from oppressive debt. The bankruptcy laws are flexible to help those who need a fresh start – despite fame or fortune. If you need this type of help, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

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