The decision to file for bankruptcy should be well thought out and that means understanding what can not be included. Most filers have enough debt to make a chapter 7 filing worthwhile but some types of debt cannot be discharged. Take a look at the below list of debts that can be forgiven and those that you may not be able to add to your debt matrix.

What Can Be Discharged

Unsecured debt – This form of debt is almost always connected with credit cards. Along with most credit cards, medical debt and personal loans are considered unsecured debts. Any debt that doesn't have property attached to it is unsecured. Some people mistakenly think that a payday loan cannot be included in a bankruptcy filing, but that is not true. No matter what you signed when you took out the payday loan, this is an unsecured debt and can be completely forgiven with a chapter7 filing.

Secured debt – At the opposite end of debt are those debts with property attached as collateral. Your home and vehicle may fall into that category. If you get behind on secured debts, the property can be seized by the creditor before you have a chance to file for bankruptcy. When a foreclosure or repossession is threatened, take it seriously and file bankruptcy as quickly as possible. A filing will temporarily block seizure efforts and give you a chance to get things caught up. Most filers use the money they were sending to the credit card companies to catch up on mortgage and auto loan payments once they file. If you cannot get caught up, debt collection actions may be allowed to proceed at some point.

What Cannot Be Discharged

Taxes – Some older tax debts may be forgiven but recent tax debts still have to be paid. If you have liens on a property due to older tax debts, you may be able to get the liens lifted with a bankruptcy filing.

Child and spousal support – All states protect minor-aged children with provisions blocking that debt from inclusion with bankruptcy. States differ in the protection of spousal support (or alimony) for inclusion in the bankruptcy.

Student loan debt – Student loan debt is not typically forgiven except in rare cases.

Legal debts – You must still pay court costs, judgments, and attorney fees regardless of a bankruptcy filing.

Don't guess about your debt forgiveness situation, speak to a bankruptcy lawyer like one at Havner Law Firm and be ready to provide them with a list of all of your debt obligations. They can assist you in determining how much of a fresh start you can look forward to.