Preparing For The Meeting Of Creditors
An experienced Tampa bankruptcy lawyer will typically spend a substantial amount of time preparing his client for the 341 meeting. The Trustee will usually question the debtor about the financial information submitted on the bankruptcy petition and schedules. The Trusteeâs questions will be designed to help determine was if the debtor paperwork was accurate. The trustee will investigate if the borrower honestly and correctly represented their assets, income, and debts on the bankruptcy petition. Debtors must answer the questions accurately and truthfully at the 341 hearing. Providing false information to the Trustee or creditors at the 341 meeting can result in criminal charges.
You will need to bring your driverâs license to the meeting. Additionally, you may be required to provide your social security card as well. We suggest arriving early to allow time to find your room and confer with your bankruptcy lawyer. Remember that this is a reasonably informal proceeding, but you will still want to dress professionally and act respectfully in the meeting.
What Is A Financial Management Course
An online course that anyone who wishes to file for bankruptcy is required to complete after filing a case and before receiving a discharge. This course is required as part of the Bankruptcy Code and our office will cover this expense as part of your retainer fee. The course can typically be completed in less than an hour.
Do I Need To Hire A Lawyer For My Bankruptcy Case
It is important to note that the law does not compel individuals to have a lawyer to represent them in a bankruptcy case. However, taking into consideration the complicated nature of such a case as this, individuals cannot afford to make mistakes that will ruin the entire process.
To avoid these mistakes which may seem simple and negligible at first, hiring an attorney is essential. In essence, an individual that is filing for bankruptcy is better off working with an attorney than choosing to approach the complicated legal process alone.
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Withdraw Some Money For Your Living Costs
There may be a delay of several days between your bankruptcy order being made and the official receiver taking control of your money and property. However, your bank or building society accounts may be frozen immediately, meaning you won’t be able to access any money. Therefore, you should take enough money out of your account to cover your costs for the next few weeks, if possible.
Can I Keep Any Credit Cards
Under some circumstances if the creditor agrees, you may be able to keep some credit cards. There are many factors which must be considered. Some of the factors include the credit card balance at the time of the bankruptcy, what the credit card company is willing to do and your ability to pay the present and future credit card debt.
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How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit Score
Credit scores are based on a multitude of factors. One of the factors that determine the credit score is the amount of debt a person has. Bankruptcy can assist with this by discharging debt a borrower may otherwise be obligated to pay. Another factor is open credit accounts with late payments these accounts can significantly reduce your credit score. Fortunately, bankruptcy can assist with this aspect as well. If the debt is discharged in bankruptcy, the account should no longer be reported as an open delinquent account. For more information on how bankruptcy affects credit scores and how the score is calculated,
The bankruptcy filing may last on your credit report for a few years. If you completed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the filing might remain on your credit report for seven years. On the other hand, Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. See MyFico.com.
If bankruptcy is on your credit, it does not mean you will be prevented from acquiring new debt. For instance, the waiting period for a mortgage may be a lot sooner. Many car loan lenders will have no waiting period at all you may get a loan the very next day. The FHA and Veteranâs Association allows borrowers to qualify for a mortgage in just two years after the discharge. See FHA Regulation 4155.4.
Where Do I Go To Court When I File Bankruptcy In Georgia
You may think that if you file bankruptcy in Georgia that you will go to a courthouse picturesque, official- looking buildingoften with a domein the center of your hometown. You may pass a courthouse in your Georgia town or may have been summoned for jury duty in the past. However, for clients involved in a bankruptcy proceeding, the courthouse in the center of the town square is not normally where their proceeding will take place!
Bankruptcy protection exists under federal law. In a consumer bankruptcy, which is a bankruptcy involving an individual rather than a corporation, your attorney will file your case in federal court. That means that whether your bankruptcy is being filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you will need to access the appropriate federal courthouse for all bankruptcy proceedings.
For our clients at The Law Offices of Charles Clapp, this usually means the appropriate division of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has four divisions, Atlanta, Gainesville, Newnan and Rome, with jurisdiction based on county.
The Atlanta Division serves the following counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton and Rockdale.
It is located at:
Richard B. Russell Federal Building and Courthouse75 Spring Street, SW
Directions and information regarding parking: Atlanta Bankruptcy Court
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In Indiana What Property Can I Keep
In a chapter 7 case, you can keep all property which the law says is exempt from the claims of creditors. Indiana exemptions provides a list of the exemptions available for Indiana. In determining whether property is exempt, you must keep a few things in mind. The value of property is not the amount you paid for it, but what it is worth now. Especially for furniture and cars, this may be a lot less than what you paid or what it would cost to buy a replacement. You also only need to look at your equity in property. This means that you count your exemptions against the full value minus any money that you owe on mortgages or liens. For example, if you own a $50,000 house with a $40,000 mortgage, you count your exemptions against the $10,000 which is your equity if you sell it. While your exemptions allow you to keep property even in a chapter 7 case, your exemptions do not make any difference to the right of a mortgage holder or car loan creditor to take the property to cover the debt if you are behind. In a chapter 13 case, you can keep all of your property if your plan meets the requirements of the bankruptcy law. In most cases you will have to pay the mortgages or liens as you would if you didnt file bankruptcy.
How An Attorney Can Help When Filing For Bankruptcy
An individual can end up spending more over time if they believe they can file for bankruptcy alone. A bankruptcy attorney can help save money because they will make sure you donât pay any unnecessary costs and make sure you are aware of any unexpected costs as well. Some mistakes a person can make when filing for chapter 7 may be:
- Income listed does not align according to their income documents
- Using the wrong size for oneâs household
- Trying to take deductions that will not be allowed
- Not taking certain deductions that one is able to
- Child support was listed that is supposed to have been paid but it is not
- Claiming payments on a mortgage that one has not paid in the past six months leading up to the filing
These are just a few of the common mistakes a person can make, a bankruptcy attorney will ensure these mistakes are not made and the paperwork is filed correctly. Make sure to work with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer such as David Braun Law if you are in a difficult situation.
An attorney will also make sure the process is successful. As you can already see the process of filing bankruptcy is very intricate and complex, an attorney can help you get through each step and make sure you are not doing anything that can be what the courts consider as fraudulent. They will also give you great legal advice on what types of bankruptcy is available for your situation and help you get your financial life back to normal.
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What Will Happen To My Home And Car If I File Bankruptcy In Indiana
In most cases you will not lose your home or car during your bankruptcy case as long as your equity in the property is fully exempt. Even if your property is not fully exempt, you will be able to keep it, if you pay its non-exempt value to creditors in chapter 13. However, some of your creditors may have a security interest in your home, automobile or other personal property. This means that you gave that creditor a mortgage on the home or put your other property up as collateral for the debt. Bankruptcy does not make these security interests go away. If you dont make your payments on that debt, the creditor may be able to take and sell the home or the property, during or after the bankruptcy case. There are several ways that you can keep collateral or mortgaged property after you file bankruptcy. You can agree to keep making your payments on the debt until it is paid in full. Or you can pay the creditor the amount that the property you want to keep is worth. In some cases involving fraud or other improper conduct by the creditor, you may be able to challenge the debt. If you put up your household goods as collateral for a loan , you can usually keep your property without making any more payments on that debt by requesting the Bankruptcy Court void the liens.
Do You Have To Go To Court When You File For Bankruptcy
Appearing in front of a judge for a legal proceeding can be daunting and overwhelming. What you see in the movies is usually a dramatized portrayal of the legal system. When you file for bankruptcy, you will probably have to appear in court at a Meeting of Creditors, but this appearance is usually in front of the Trustee or court-appointed CPA who is over your case, not a judge. Your creditors may or may not be in attendance. It may take place in a meeting or conference room instead of the courtroom.
How to Prepare for the Meeting of Creditors
Although this meeting isnt in a courtroom, you should take it seriously. Youll want to dress conservatively, such as what you might wear to a funeral or an interview. You dont need to wear a suit, but you shouldnt dress in jeans or shorts. Wear a nice blouse or shirt, no t-shirts. Bring your photo ID, social security card, and any other documents your lawyer recommends.
What Happens at the Meeting of Creditors?
This hearing probably wont last more than 5 to 10 minutes, but it can depend on the complexity of your situation. Most Trustees have already gone through your paperwork before they meet with you. This is just an opportunity for the Trustee to verify your information and ask any follow-up questions. Your creditors may be given the opportunity to challenge the information, but many wont even attend. If there are no issues that you need to resolve, youll be able to move forward with the bankruptcy.
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The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Declaring Bankruptcy
When your debt exceeds your assets and your ability to pay your creditors, bankruptcy can offer you a financial lifeline. Filing for debt relief through bankruptcy can have many advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of bankruptcy protection include:
- A new start that can help you create a healthy financial future
- The ability to retain much, if not all, of your personal property and assets
- Your creditors will be required to cease all debt collection actions
In addition to putting a stop to relentless phone calls and other debt collection efforts, filing for debt relief through bankruptcy can also have disadvantages that you should be aware of. Disadvantages of filing for bankruptcy protection include:
- Filing for bankruptcy stays on your credit profile for 7 to 10 years
- Filing for bankruptcy can lead to higher interest rates when you are eventually able to obtain financing
- You can be ordered to undergo court-approved credit counseling
- You cannot use bankruptcy to discharge overwhelming debt, again, for at least four to eight years, depending on what type of bankruptcy you had filed.
Each individual or business debt load is unique and requires close scrutiny and careful debt reduction planning. Your lawyer can take a clear, objective, and comprehensive view of your financial situation and help you create a plan to reorganize, reduce, or eliminate your debt.
For a legal consultation, call
What Chapter Of Bankruptcy Should I File
Deciding what chapter of bankruptcy you need to file depends on many factors of your personal circumstances. Generally speaking, what chapter of bankruptcy you need to file depends largely on your income and if you are behind on a house or car that you want to keep. The best way to know what chapter is best for you is to meet with an attorney and review your circumstances. Our offices offerfree consultations for this very reason and our staff would be more than happy to help you schedule an appointment today.
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Will I Lose Property In A Bankruptcy
Maybe. Most of your property is likely to be protected from sale because of special exemptions. Review the exemptions. If you have valuable property that you want to keep that is not covered by the exemptions, you will probably not be able to keep it unless you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must turn over any property that is not exempt to the Chapter 7 Trustee who will arrange to sell the property and give the money to your creditors. Some debts may be “secured” – usually a house or car or mobile home. A secured debt is a debt where you have promised property as collateral. Usually you will need to give the property back to the creditor. See more details on secured debts under the question Which type of bankruptcy should I file?
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will not lose any property if you are able to complete your reorganization plan.
What Happens If I Declare Bankruptcy
When you declare bankruptcy, you will file a petition in federal court. Once your petition for bankruptcy is filed, your creditors will be informed and must stop pursuing any debt you owe. The court will then request certain information from you, including:
- The total amount of debt you owe
- A complete list of all your creditors
- An accounting of your total income
- An accounting of your outgoing expenses
You are permitted to represent yourself in bankruptcy court. You are also allowed to hire a lawyer who can serve as your advocate and help you navigate the complicated process of what happens if you declare bankruptcy. Having your debt discharged or reorganized in bankruptcy court can take a lengthy period of time. Should you get a lawyer, your lawyer can help you understand the relevant timeline in your bankruptcy case.
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Avoid New Loans Right Before Filing
Its not unusual for someone struggling with debt payments to consider getting a new loan before filing to keep afloat. However, your trustee will ask if you applied for and received any new loans or credit right before your bankruptcy proceeding.
Borrowing money you know you cant repay or you know will be forgiven when you file bankruptcy might be considered fraud. Any debts you take on fraudulently are not included in your bankruptcy. This means you would have to repay those creditors in full after your bankruptcy.
Documents Needed For Chapter 7 And Chapter 13
You will need access to information to complete the bankruptcy paperwork. Additionally, the bankruptcy trustee will require documents to verify your petition was correct. Therefore, prior to filing bankruptcy, you should compile the following information:
- A list of all your creditors, the nature of the debt, the amount owed to each, and their mailing addresses.
- Your source of income, how often you are paid, and how much you are paid. Additionally, the same income information will be required for your spouse. Your spouseâs information is needed even if your spouse is not filing bankruptcy with you. This is necessary for the court, the trustee, and your creditors to determine your household financial situation.
- A list of all your property .
- A detailed list of your monthly living expenses, such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, taxes, medicine, etc. These expenses must be reasonable and necessary for family maintenance.
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