Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

12 Mar What Should I Expect At The Bankruptcy Trustee Hearing?

I've filed for bankruptcy and now I have to go to a hearing. What should I expect?

If your bankruptcy case is routine, you should expect only one hearing with the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee is an employee of the U.S. Department of Justice whose job is to examine your case to determine that everything is in order. The bankruptcy trustee will ask questions to see if you are hiding assets or have been truthful on the bankruptcy schedules of your petition. The Office of the U.S. Trustee is always actively looking for cases to prosecute for bankruptcy fraud, so it's very important that you disclose all of your assets, liabilities and other financial information completely and accurately.

Usually, the hearings are quite routine and last only a few minutes. Much of the necessary paperwork is already in the trustee's hands. By this time, you will have provided copies of your tax returns, paystubs and most likely any information on your real estate and bank account. Your finances have been reviewed by any number of staff people.

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09 Mar How Many Bankruptcy Cases Can You File?

In most cases, the purpose for filing bankruptcy is to obtain a "discharge." A discharge is a document issued by a bankruptcy judge that serves as legal proof that you have satisfied your obligation to affected creditors. Should a creditor attempt to come after you for a discharged debt, your discharge order will serve as proof that the creditor's claim has no merit. Similarly, a discharge can be used to clean up your credit reports. If your credit files show an unpaid balance on a debt that was discharged, you can use your discharge order to force the credit reporting agency to change its records. What happens if your file for bankruptcy - either Chapter or Chapter 13 - but circumstances lead you back into financial crisis and you have to file again. Are you allowed to file more than one bankruptcy in your life? Fortunately, the answer is "yes" - you can file multiple bankruptcy cases if you need to do so. However, there are some very specific rules that limit these subsequent filings.
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06 Mar Should I Be Scared of the Meeting of Creditors?

In the overwhelming majority of cases, the Meeting of Creditors (also called the "341 Meeting," because it is authorized by Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code) is about 5 minutes long, no creditors appear, and the Meeting consists of Trustee going through a series of standard questions. Why, then, do most of my clients hear the words "Meeting of Creditors" and get a mental image of being seated in a straight-backed chair in a large, darkened room, with a spotlight in their face, and their creditors in hooded robes chanting around them?
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01 Mar The Fate of Co-Signed or Guaranteed Debt in Bankruptcy

If any of your debts have been guaranteed or co-signed by a friend or relative, your bankruptcy filing could damage your friend or relative's credit. Lenders, whether automobile finance companies, credit card lenders, mortgage lenders or any other type of credit grantor, are in the business of evaluating and managing risk. If your credit profile has been poor for a while, you may have been asked by the credit grantor to find a guarantor or co-signer.
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