30 Jan What are the debtor’s duties in a chapter 7 case?
Bankruptcy is like an obstacle course for debtors.
You can’t become a debtor without first taking credit counseling from an approved not-for-profit agency. The credit counseling must be no more than 180 days prior to the bankruptcy case. Most courts want you to have taken the credit counseling at least a day before your case.
You must prepare accurate and complete schedules in bankruptcy and statements of financial affairs. You have to disclose all of your assets and all of your debts. Your statement of financial affairs must be true in all respects. If you file a bankruptcy paper with an incorrect statement, this could be considered a false oath. A false oath on your bankruptcy papers, if willful and fraudulent, could lead to denial of your discharge in bankruptcy.Don’t even think about making a false statement on your bankruptcy papers. Not only could you lose your discharge, but you could go to jail!
Once you file your bankruptcy papers, you’ll need to perform a whole slew of other duties as provided in the Bankruptcy Code which include:
- File a list of creditors, schedule of assets and liabilities, schedule of income and expense
- Provide pay advices for the prior 60 days
- Provide most recent income tax return or transcript
- Make a statement of intention to reaffirm, surrender or redeem personal property and perform on that intention
- Cooperate with the trustee in the performance of the trustee’s duties
- Appear at a meeting of creditors
- Appear at any court hearing about your discharge
- Surrender to trustee all property of the estate and any recorded information, documents, records and papers relating to any property of your estate
Not only that, you’ll have to take a personal financial management course after you file your case and file the certificate that you did so with the Court in order to get your discharge.
You need to do your job and the trustee needs to do his job. The trustee wants you to get a discharge. But the trustee wants to liquidate your non-exempt assets so that your creditors get a fair distribution and so the trustee gets paid for his efforts.
To be continued . . .
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