What Happens First In A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case?
If you have not filed bankruptcy before, or even been to Court for something minor like a traffic ticket, going to the halls of justice can be scary. But if you know what to expect you can better prepare yourself, and the experience can go smoothly. The first part to preparing yourself is to learn what happen first, and how the steps in the case build upon one another.
When you decide to file bankruptcy the first thing you can expect is to figure out what chapter of case you qualify to file. Consumer debtors file cases under either chapter 7 or chapter 13. A chapter 7 is a liquidation of your debt while a chapter 13 is a reorganization of debt. Chapter 7 cases are generally the preferred chapter, because they eliminate all of your unsecured debt and they don’t last as long as a chapter 13 case. The first thing that happens after your chapter 7 case is filed is that you attend the 341 meeting. The 341 meeting is an informal meeting with the trustee and your attorney. Sometimes creditors appear at this hearing and ask your intent with regard to their collateral, but that is not always the case. Other important things to remember about the 341 meeting include:
- You are required to bring proof of identity with you to the meeting, and if you forget your ID you will have to produce it later for the Trustee’s examination.
- You are also required to bring certain financial documents with you to Court at this time; like your car titles, copies of tax returns, and pay stubs.
- The Trustee will look over your documents and if there are any questions about the information contained in your filing this is when the Trustee will ask about the data. If a creditor is present they may ask if you are going to reaffirm the debt for their collateral, or if you are going to surrender the property back to the lender.
Your attorney will also ask you questions about the documents submitted when your case was filed, and ask you to confirm the information therein is accurate and complete. After your 341 meeting concludes you will receive notice of the discharge of your case a few months later. Once discharge is entered, your case is complete. If there are questions along the way, your attorney will let you know and will address those questions on your behalf.
For more information about how chapter 7 bankruptcy works, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.