At Sabatini Freeman, LLC, we have 40+ years of combined experience. Every day, we use this experience to help clients overcome severe financial challenges. We understand how stressful repossession and other debt-related issues can be for you and your loved ones, which is why we provide empathetic, solutions-oriented support. We look forward to helping you achieve financial freedom as soon as possible.
“Attorney Sabatini listened to my concerns and helped me to understand how it worked and explained everything to help me make my decision. He was very kind and was understanding of the way I felt and he really put me at ease.”- Kit
“Everyone is very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. I would absolutely recommend this firm.”- Vicki
“I have dealt with both Attorney Sabatini and Attorney Freeman and both were great! I would highly recommend them to anyone needing the types of services they provide.”- Michelle C.
Repossession Lawyers in Scranton
Helping You Restructure Your Vehicle Loan
Are you “underwater” on your vehicle, meaning it’s worth a lot less than what you owe? If so, bankruptcy could give you the right to the title if you pay your lender what the car is worth instead of what you owe.
Normally, if a lender repossesses your car because you haven’t made payments, they might not recover the full amount you owed when they sell it. They would then sue you for the balance. When you file bankruptcy, however, they can no longer sue you to recover the full amount because it will be discharged by the bankruptcy court. If you file bankruptcy BEFORE they repossess it, they won’t be able to take your car without getting permission from the bankruptcy court.
Due to these factors, people often use bankruptcy to either:
- Surrender their vehicle to the lender without being liable for the deficiency balance; or
- Avoid repossession altogether through redemption or cramdown.
The bankruptcy laws permit you to keep the vehicle so long as the lender gets the same amount that it would have received if you had surrendered it. So, if you pay the lender the value of the vehicle, the lender must give you the title. This treatment of a car loan is called “redemption” in a Chapter 7 case or “cramdown” in a Chapter 13 case.
The Chapter 7 Redemption
To redeem a vehicle in Chapter 7, you must pay the lender the value of the vehicle in one lump sum. Most people are unable to do that, so redemptions are relatively rare. However, some companies offer redemption financing. After you have filed a bankruptcy case, the redemption financing company may offer you a loan at a very high interest rate to provide the funds you need to make the lump sum payment to the previous vehicle lender. Then you have a new vehicle loan for a smaller amount (the value of the vehicle rather than the previous payoff) but probably at a much higher interest rate. The economics of this type of arrangement can make sense depending on the condition of the vehicle and the amount by which it is underwater.
The Chapter 13 Cramdown
A Chapter 13 cramdown is much more common than redemption. In a cramdown, the lender is not entitled to receive the payment in one lump sum. Instead, the payment is made through the bankruptcy trustee’s office during the life of the bankruptcy case. The lender is also entitled to receive interest on the payment during the life of the bankruptcy case, but the interest rate is relatively low.
There is a restriction on a cramdown, however, that is not present for a redemption. Generally, to cramdown a car loan, the loan has to be at least 2½ years old. So, for example, if you had a car that was worth $8,000 and had 3 years left on a 6-year, $390/mo car loan, that car payment could be reduced in a Chapter 13 case to $260/mo for 3 years. Of course, it probably wouldn’t make sense for most people to file bankruptcy simply for that $130/mo savings. However, for someone who is going to file a bankruptcy case anyway, this vehicle cramdown might offer additional help with a tight budget.
Your first conversation with an attorney to understand and evaluate your case is 100% complimentary.
With the combined experience of over 40 years between the attorneys of Sabatini Freeman LLC, we leverage our knowledge and experience with the local trustees to get you optimal results.
You should never be left in the dark when it comes to your legal matter. From start to finish, we will keep you updated on the status of your case.
Board Certified in Consumer Bankruptcy Law, Attorney Sabatini is the only attorney with this certification with an office within 50 miles of Wilkes-Barre or Scranton.