Home Equity Line of Credit, Your Home, and Your Bankruptcy Options


Mortgage issues have dominated the headlines of newspapers and financial magazines ever since the recession started. With millions of households on the verge of foreclosure and unconfident governmental attempts to assist troubled borrowers, mortgage problems are certainly worth attention. As many consumers have chosen bankruptcy as a solution to their financial problems, many wonder what is going to happen to their home equity line of credit.Home Equity Loans Are Generally Treated Same As MortgagesHome equity loans are collateral-backed loans and therefore are treated in the same manner as mortgages are. Under U.S. Bankruptcy laws, home equity lines of credit are considered as a second or a third mortgage, and could not be discharged unless the borrower is willing to give up the property they are backed with. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to discharge a home equity loan if you intend to keep your residence, with the exception of some rare cases.Some Exceptions Could Be Made Using Law ComplexityA good bankruptcy attorney may be able to help you to establish grounds for a home equity line discharge though a proper assessment of the home market value. The key here is strip the loan if your present home value is less that the amount of debts tied to it. However, such course of action requires a solid expertise in the area of bankruptcy laws and significant experience in court proceedings. The Bankruptcy Code is so complex that it could pose some difficulties for consumers seeking bankruptcy protection from creditors, as well as provide some hidden ins and outs with the help of a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer. Many Americans have already benefited from law imperfections that were used to their benefit, allowing discharge of some secured debts, such as a home equity line of credit.Getting A Knowledgeable Lawyer On Your Side Is VitalBankruptcy laws are so complex that even some lawyers have difficulties interpreting them, needless to mention an average citizen. That is exactly why choosing an experienced lawyer is so important. Most people exercise a cost-based approach to selecting a lawyer to handle their bankruptcy case. While it may work for consumers who do not own any valuable assets and have large amounts of unsecured debts, it is definitely not the right approach for complex cases, involving real estate properties with several loans attached. Saving several hundreds of dollars today may cost you many thousands in home equity loan repayments for the years to come. That is why calling every bankruptcy lawyer from your local yellow pages trying to compare prices is definitely not an option.Finding the right bankruptcy lawyer entails some research and background check. The things to look for are memberships in bankruptcy associations, customer reviews, and a local bar association and a BBB office records. Many respectable and experienced bankruptcy attorneys offer free initial consultations where they explain your options and propose a cost-effective strategy. In addition, well-established lawyers maintain blogs and websites where they answer questions of their potential customers and provide free information on bankruptcy options, including dealing with mortgages and home equity lines of credit.