The Complete Book on Bankruptcy

By respected consumer bankruptcy attorney

Peter Francis Geraci J.D.

Chapter 1
How to have a Stress-Free Bankruptcy

Chapter 2
What is Bankruptcy

Chapter 3
What causes people to need Banruptcy Relief

Chapter 4
What is the procedure?

Chapter 5
When you should consider Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 plans?

Chapter 6
What can Bankruptcy do for you?

Chapter 7
Common Misunderstandings about Bankruptcy

Chapter 8
Is Bankruptcy Bad?

Chapter 9
What does Bankruptcy cost?

Chapter 10
Can I file without my spouse?

Chapter 11
Does my Employer know if I file Bankruptcy?

Chapter 12
Do I lose anything?

Chapter 13
Does Bankruptcy "Ruin my Credit"

Chapter 14
Can I keep bills off my bankruptcy

Chapter 15
Bills or property in somone else's name or posession

Chapter 16
What about the Credit Union?

Chapter 17
Co-Signors

Chapter 18
What about my car?

Chapter 19
What about my House?

Chapter 20
When do creditors stop bothering me?

Chapter 21
What are Cross-collateralization Agreements?

Chapter 22
Joint Accounts with Parents

Chapter 23
When do I stop paying creditors?

Chapter 24
Gas, Electric & Phone Bills

Chapter 25
Bankruptcy & Divorce, Alimony & Child Support

Chapter 26
What Bankruptcy won't solve

Chapter 27
Chapter 13 Debt repyament Plans

Chapter 28
Will I be able to get credit again?

Chapter 29
Bill Consolidation Loans

Chapter 30
Bill Consolidation

Chapter 31
Wage Assignments, Deductions and Levies

Chapter 32
Student Loans

Chapter 33
Can I get rid of Taxes

Chapter 34
NSF Checks, Traffic & Parking Tickets

Chapter 35
Surrendering Real Estate & Time Shares

Chapter 36
Business Bankruptcy

Chapter 37
Professional Persons

Chapter 38
Do you ever "Not Get" a Discharge?

Chapter 39
About Geraci Law LLC and Peter Francis Geraci

Chapter 40
Who is the best Bankruptcy lawyer near me?

Chapter 41
What if I need a Bankruptcy lawyer near me?

CHAPTER #24 GAS, CABLE, ELECTRIC & PHONE BILLS

Gas, electric and telephone (utility bills) can be dealt with in a bankruptcy. If they are current, they should not be listed on a bankruptcy petition. If they are more than 3 months past due, they should be listed, because you can be protected from utility shutoffs, and continue getting utility service without paying the past due bills, in many cases. Most states have laws which say that public utilities cannot refuse to give you service after a bankruptcy, even if you had a bill with them that you are discharging.

For instance, if your electric bill is behind $600, and your regular monthly bill is $75.00, but your electric is shut off because you were so far behind, a bankruptcy will be of great help to you. I will list the electric company as a creditor, and provide you with documents that you must carry in person to the electric company. They will zero out your bill. You then can get service turned on, providing you make satisfactory deposit arrangements. Usually, the deposit would be 2 times an average bill, or 2 x $75.00. This may be payable in installments over several months.

So, you can see that, if you are severely behind in your utilities, and have enough other bills to warrant filing a bankruptcy, you can get your past due utility service up to date very quickly with very little money.

Cell phone carriers may shut off your service if you owe them money and file. The same with cable companies. Most will turn it back on when you provide them with the bankruptcy papers and catch up. Usually our clients only list those providers that are already shut off, so this is not a problem.

The only problem with clients whose utility bills are past due, is that it is a signal that the have problems that bankruptcy cannot solve. Not paying utility bills is like not paying your rent. Unless that is caused by a temporary disaster, you may need more income to live normally. If you don't have enough income to pay necessities, you may find yourself back in the same situation again very soon after a bankruptcy. (see the Chapter on What Bankruptcy Won't Solve)

Problem: Mrs. Wilson has 3 finance company loans, 4 credit cards, and a big hospital bill that was not covered by insurance. Her house payment is 2 months late, because she paid the other creditors instead of paying the house payment. Her gas bill is $600 behind, and her lights are off.

The Peter Francis Geraci Chapter 7 or 13 Solution: If she files a bankruptcy petition, her utilities can be "zeroed out", and her outstanding balance reduced to nothing. She starts fresh with the utility companies, and will only have to put up a deposit in order to get service again. Of course, she will have to remain current in the future.

A Chapter 13 will pick up the past due mortgage payments and prevent collection by the other loans. Of course, there is no sense filing a Chapter 13 if she cannot meet her mortgage, utilities and Chapter 13 payment regularly in the future.

It may be better to file a Chapter 7 in such a case, and perhaps sell the house or live out the equity without making any more mortgage payments.