Filing For Bankruptcy Can Be Complicated
The bankruptcy process may be complex, but it can be manageable if you work with an experienced attorney and take things one step at a time. The first step is speaking with an attorney on the phone and setting up a free consultation at The Law Offices of Sutton & Sutton in Lakewood. At our free consultation, we will listen to you and put together the pieces of your financial situation. Once we paint a picture of your situation, we will discuss your particular problems and a game plan as to what actions need to be taken.
We will then go over with you our information packet and questionnaire and walk you through the paperwork that is required for filing bankruptcy. If you decide to retain us, you can then inform creditors who call you to speak with us, even while you get all the paperwork together. Once all the necessary documents and paperwork are put together, you will meet with an attorney again to review and sign a petition and schedules to file. Then we will e-file your bankruptcy.
What Comes Next
At the moment we file, the protective measures of bankruptcy become effective. The automatic stay instantly becomes effective. All garnishments will cease and creditors will be forbidden from attempting to collect debts.
About 30 days after filing, you and your attorney will meet with the trustee at the section 341 meeting of the creditors.
In a Chapter 7 case, approximately 60 days after the meeting of the creditors, a discharge will be issued.
In a Chapter 13 case, you will make your initial payment to the plan 30 days after filing. Then you will attend a Section 341 meeting of the creditors. About two weeks after the meeting of the creditors, a confirmation hearing will be held with the federal judge. You will not need to attend the confirmation hearing; your attorney will handle this matter. After the plan is confirmed, you will continue to make payments on the plan until the plan is completed, typically in three to five years. After the plan is complete you will be issued a discharge order.
The 341 Meeting Of The Creditors
About a month after filing either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor is required by the Bankruptcy Code to appear before the trustee. The debtor, the filing attorney and the trustee sit at a conference table and the debtor is required to take an oath and answer the trustee’s questions. The meeting will also give an opportunity for creditors to appear; however, they usually do not show up. The meeting is largely a formality.
Sample Questions The Trustee May Ask
Knowing what to expect is one of the best ways of preparing, so here are some common questions you may hear from a trustee:
- State your name and address.
- When filing your bankruptcy petition did you list all of your assets and all of your liabilities?
- What are your current bank account balances?
- Are you owed any wages?
- Do you expect to receive a tax refund this year?
- Do you own any real estate? If so, what is the value of that real estate?
- How did you arrive at the value of that real estate?
- Do you own any vehicles?
- What is your intention with your vehicle?
- Have you signed any reaffirmation agreements?
- Do you expect to inherit any money in the next six months?
- Have you given away anything in the last six months?
- Have you given money to a family member – more than $1,000 in the last year?
- Did you review and sign the petition and schedules with your attorney?
- Do you own any firearms?
- Do you own any season tickets?
- Have you paid any unsecured creditor more than $600 within the 90 days before the case filing date?
- Do you have any domestic support obligations?
- Do you own any partnership interests, stocks or bonds?
Typically the meeting of the creditors only lasts 15 minutes. It is best to answer questions with a yes or a no, if possible. The trustee’s job is to determine if the estate has any assets; if so the trustee will administer those assets and will determine whether or not you will receive a discharge.
If there are questions the trustee asks you which you do not understand, ask the trustee to repeat the question. Answer all questions honestly. If issues arise, your attorney will be sitting next to you to assist you.
A discharge in bankruptcy is a court order releasing a debtor from all of his or her dischargeable debts and ordering the creditors not to attempt to collect them from the debtor. A debt that is discharged is a debt that the debtor is released from and does not have to pay.
Contact An Experienced Law Firm Today
It is important to remember throughout this process that you are not alone. Every year, several million people filed for bankruptcy. We can help you through it. Call 303-277-1927 or contact us online to learn more.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.