The number of personal bankruptcy filings declined by 1.8 percent in 2017. However, financial professionals say that Oregon residents and others who want to file for bankruptcy should spend time thinking through the entire process. This means considering what happens before and during a bankruptcy as well as what happens after a case concludes. For example, debtors must go through credit counseling prior to asking for bankruptcy protection.

Failing to meet this obligation could result in a case being delayed or dismissed. While a bankruptcy no longer appears on a credit report after 7 or 10 years, it may have a permanent impact on a person’s life. In some cases, a person may need to disclose a prior bankruptcy whenever he or she applies for a job or a loan. Debtors will also need to be sure that they inform their attorney and the court about all of their debts.

Individuals who want protection from creditors may benefit from filing as soon as possible. Doing so may wipe out credit card or medical debts, and an automatic stay can have benefits for a person’s emotional state. This is because it puts an end to creditor phone calls or letters; a person may also feel less stressed knowing that he or she has money for groceries or other necessities.

Filing for bankruptcy may be an effective way for a person to regain control over his or her finances. An attorney may help with paperwork or answer questions a person has about an automatic stay. Generally speaking, the stay prevents creditors from making phone calls or repossessing a debtor’s property. In some cases, an individual may be entitled to a full discharge of outstanding debt balances.