Using A Checklist Can Help Organize The Documents Youll Need In A Chapter 7 Case
By Cara O’Neill, Attorney
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must disclose all aspects of your financial affairs and prove the accuracy of the information provided. The checklist below will help you assemble the documents you’ll need at every stage of Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Learn more about what to expect in The Bankruptcy Process: Chapter 7.
Losing Paperwork In A Natural Disaster
Filing for bankruptcy after a natural disaster is common. But not only are jobs and property lost, but the paperwork required to file for bankruptcy can end up missing, too. Fortunately, provisions are made for such emergencies. When a bankruptcy debtor loses financial paperwork in a natural disaster, the bankruptcy trustee must:
- avoid taking action against a debtor who can’t produce documents
- grant reasonable requests to ease filing requirements, and
- take into account a decrease in income or increase in expenses.
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.
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What You Can Expect From Your Initial Free Consultation With A Trustee
To learn more about how filing for bankruptcy would affect you, and whether there are practical alternatives, we encourage you to book a free personal consultation with a local Licensed Insolvency Trustee.
The Trustee will discuss your personal situation with you, answer your questions, and advise you on whether bankruptcy is a good fit for your situation, or if a different insolvency solution an alternative to bankruptcy might be more suitable for you.
The consultation is confidential, and also risk-free as you have no obligation to continue to work with the same Trustee in the future, nor can the Trustee make any decisions on your behalf. You will leave the Trustees office with a lightened emotional load, knowing you have received trusted professional advice.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
After filing your bankruptcy forms, you will need to complete a Debtor Education Course from an approved credit counseling agency. It can be completed online or by phone and typically takes at least 2 hours and costs between $10 – $50, unless youâre eligible for a waiver.
The purpose of the course is to educate you on making smart financial decisions going forward but does not provide legal advice about the bankruptcy process. Youâll learn how to prepare a budget and avoid incurring debt with high interest rates.
Youâre not eligible to receive your bankruptcy discharge and obtain a fresh start if you donât complete the course and file your certificate of completion from the credit counseling agency with the court.
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Attend Your 341 Meeting
Your 341 meeting, or meeting of creditors, will take place about a month after your bankruptcy case is filed. Youâll find the date, time, and location of your 341 meeting on the notice youâll get from the court a few days after filing bankruptcy. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all 341 meetings are held either by video conference or via telephone until at least October.
The main purpose of the 341 meeting is for the case trustee to verify your identity and ask you certain standard questions and most last only about 5 minutes. Your creditors are allowed to attend and ask you questions about your financial situation, but they almost never do.
ââ You must bring your government-issued ID and social security card to the meeting. If you donât bring an approved form of both, the trustee canât verify your identity and the meeting cannot go forward. You should also bring a copy of your bankruptcy forms to the meeting, along with your last 60 days of pay stubs, your recent bank statements, and any other documents that your trustee has asked for. ââ
Background Check Free Background Check
If you have come across someone you dont have enough information on whether it is a personal information or professional, a background check is an ideal way to get better undertanding of their past actions, criminal history, places they lived, married or divorced. This is specially useful if you are bringing someone into your home or family. You can do background checks for nannies, household employees, gardners, teachers, driver, chauffer, tutors, coaches, baby sitters, contractors, or caregivers. You can find out information about new neighbors, or your doctors, dentistlawyers, psychologist. Learn also about free background check, see how you can do free background checks or a do it yourself background check.
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Disadvantages Of Filing For Bankruptcy:
The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act is the legislation by which Licensed Insolvency Trustees administer bankruptcy files. The laws and regulations of the Act are meant to balance the scales between the need of an honest but unfortunate debtor for a fresh financial start, and the rights of the creditors. For this reason, filing for bankruptcy in Canada has some disadvantages:
- Filing for bankruptcy will lower your credit score for a minimum of six years from the time your bankruptcy is completed
- Some of your assets may need to be surrendered, and/or a portion of your income above a certain level may need to be paid into your bankruptcy
- In bankruptcy, you must provide the Trustee with detailed income and expense information
- Your income tax refund, if you get one, is part of the bankruptcy and is forfeited to the Trustee for the year of bankruptcy
If you have reached the point where you are over-extended and can no longer afford your debt, the advantages of filing for bankruptcy or consumer proposal likely far outweigh the disadvantages.
Go To Court To File Your Forms
Once you print out your forms, you can either hand-deliver them to the bankruptcy court, or mail in your forms. If the courthouse isnât too far away, we suggest filing your Florida bankruptcy case – assuming theyâre open to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out the status of your bankruptcy court here.
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Are There Benefits To Filing Bankruptcy With My Spouse
Exempt property is the property that you do not have to forfeit when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A joint filing may entitle the couple to double the amount of some exemptions. For instance, the Florida exemption for a motor vehicle is only $1,000 in an individual bankruptcy case. However, when filing jointly, the exemption doubles to $2,000. Additionally, the personal property exemption of $1,000 increases to $2,000 when filed jointly. See In Re Hawkins. It is important to note the remaining exemptions will remain the same and not increase by filing a joint petition. Therefore, a couple may be able to claim more exemptions by filing separate, individual petitions for bankruptcy.
The number of exemptions you are eligible for may significantly impact whether or not to file jointly. Depending on the circumstances of your case, all of your property may be exempt from the bankruptcy. On the other hand, you may be forced to liquidate precious assets if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and your property does not qualify for an exemption.
Four Reasons Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May Be Right For You
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Should I Declare Bankruptcy
If youre not sure whether youre ready to declare bankruptcy, understand that youre not alone. Were here to help you discover the best solution to your financial crisis and will talk to you to discuss your options and help you make this personal decision for yourself. Our caring, professional, and objective staff work to fully understand your situation and the options you face.
Who Will Know About My Bankruptcy
In most cases, only your Trustee, your creditors, and the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada will know you have filed for bankruptcy.
If you apply for credit with another lender while the credit bureaus still have a record of your bankruptcy, that lender will learn about your bankruptcy from a credit bureau.
Nobody else is likely to know about your bankruptcy, unless something causes them to suspect it and they take the trouble to search OSB records.
You need not fear the embarrassment of your friends or relatives seeing any bankruptcy records about you, except those you choose to tell. With this reassurance, you can contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee near you now, for a free, confidential consultation. Your first appointment is free. We have trustees everywhere from Calgary to Montreal and more. Get a free consultation and solve your money problems today!
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Your Creditors May Hold A Meeting
Sometimes, a meeting of creditors is required or requested. The purpose of this meeting is to
- allow creditors to obtain information about the bankruptcy
- confirm the appointment of the LIT
- appoint up to five inspectors to supervise the administration of your estate and
- allow creditors to give direction to the LIT.
If a meeting is called, you will be required to attend.
Liquidation Requirements For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as liquidation bankruptcy. In Chapter 7, the borrower may be required to sell certain assets as a requirement of the case. Fortunately, not all of a debtorâs assets will be subjected to liquidation by the bankruptcy court. Florida bankruptcy law provides exemptions for many of the assets a debtor might own. If an asset is exempt from liquidation the borrower will not be required to sell the asset. To learn more about which assets may be protected in bankruptcy, .
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Choose Which Type Of Bankruptcy Is Best For You
There are two main types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Your income, amount of debt, and future goals all affect which one is best for you. With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your debts are eliminated in about 90 days.
Types of Personal Bankruptcy.
No one wants to wind up in bankruptcy, but in some cases, it is the only option to get a fresh start here are the basics.
First, there are two types of personal bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is where your non-exempt assets are liquidated to pay off as much debt as possible and then the remaining balances are written off. Most often, your home, vehicles, and retirement accounts are exempt.
With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a judge will assess your situation and designate a trustee to establish a payment schedule to pay off your debts. This chapter is normally used for people who are behind on their mortgage payments, back taxes or who have child support issues.
You will make payments every month until the debts are satisfied according to the court-approved repayment plan.
Once the payments are complete, any remaining balances are written off. Every filing requires a means test.
A means test is where your income level is compared to the median income in your state. This determines if you qualify to file and what type of bankruptcy you can elect. Youll be required to go through financial counseling to receive a certificate before you file.
Fill Out The Bankruptcy Forms
You’ll complete a few dozen pages of forms, in which you tell the court about all of your property, debts, income, expenses, and prior transactions. You’ll list the names of all your creditors, property, and income, list your property exemptions, and decide what you want to do about each of your secured debts. Finally, you’ll disclose property transactions that occurred up to ten years before your case.
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Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys In Wausau Wi
The bankruptcy attorneys at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. provide experienced legal representation for individuals and couples in Wausau, WI. If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy and would like more information about the steps involved, you can call 842-2291 or for a confidential consultation.
Things To Do Before Filing Bankruptcy
If you plan to file bankruptcy, there are several things you should or must do prior to filingor even before retaining an attorney.
Here is a brief, non-exhaustive list of the dos and don’ts before filing bankruptcy.
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Talk To A Bankruptcy Lawyer
Need professional help? Start here.
Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Right For You
Make sure you know the difference between Chapter 7 bankruptcy vs Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 makes sense when:
You dont have many assets.
Your problem debts total more than 50% of your annual income.
Your problem debts can be discharged, or forgiven, by Chapter 7. These include debts such as medical bills, credit card debt and personal or payday loans.
It would take five years or more to pay off your debt, even if you took extreme measures.
Some debts typically cant be erased in bankruptcy, including recent taxes, child support and student loans. Bankruptcy still may be an option for you, though, if erasing other kinds of debt would free up enough money to pay the debts that cant be erased.
The other common form of consumer bankruptcy, Chapter 13, may be better if you have more assets or secured debts, and can repay some or all of what you owe.
Other debt relief options are available, too, such as a debt management plan through a agency. Take advantage of the free initial advice that credit counselors and many bankruptcy attorneys offer before deciding on a path.
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