If I file for Bankruptcy, does that become public information?
When you file for Bankruptcy, your Bankruptcy case becomes part of the public record. If you feel uncomfortable with your information being part of the public record by filing for bankruptcy, we can discuss other options available to you to handle your debts such as negotiating with creditors, attempting a short sale, negotiating a deed in lieu of foreclosure, etc…
Do I have to list all of my debts and creditors when I file for Bankruptcy?
Yes, you have to list all of your debts and creditors when filing for Bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Court requires full disclosure regarding your debts and assets. This is for your benefit because you can only be protected from your creditors and have your debts eliminated or reduced by listing them on your Bankruptcy petition. You should collect and provide us with a copy of the bills for all of the creditors. We need to make sure that the information you provide to us is as accurate as possible so that your Bankruptcy case will go as smoothly as possible.
Can my creditors still contact me after I file for Bankruptcy?
After your Bankruptcy petition is filed, a Notice of Bankruptcy Filing will be forwarded to all of the creditors listed on your Bankruptcy petition. Once the creditors are notified of the Bankruptcy, they are no longer allowed to contact you. The Bankruptcy Court will issue an "Automatic Stay". The Automatic Stay prohibits the creditors from contacting you directly and prohibits them attempting to collect the debt from you. If the creditor wants to contact you or continues to try to collect on the debt, they have to receive permission from the Bankruptcy Court.
Can the Bankruptcy stop Foreclosure on my property?
Yes, but only if the Bankruptcy case is filed before the foreclosure or trustee sale takes place. If you can, or, no longer want to keep the property, we can discuss your options regarding how to handle the giving up the property. If you would like to keep the property, you will need to be able to afford the payments on the property after the Bankruptcy case is filed. If you file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and you want to keep the property, you will need to be current with your payments. You will also need to be able to continue making payments on the property in the future. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you want to keep the property, any late payments owed on the property can be paid back to the mortgage company through your Bankruptcy plan. Bankruptcy plans can last from three (3) to five (5) years depending on your particular circumstances. Once the Bankruptcy case is filed, you will need to be able to resume your regular payments for the property in addition to making your monthly Bankruptcy plan payments. During the consultation, we will discuss how you want to handle the property with you and explain all of the options available to you.
How will filing for Bankruptcy affect my credit score?
If you are filing for Bankruptcy, then it is possible that you are already behind on making payments to your creditors. If you have missed payments, then it is likely that your credit score has already been negatively affected. If this is the case, then it is unlikely that filing for bankruptcy will make it much worse. In some instances, Bankruptcy may even help improve your credit score because Bankruptcy can eliminate or reduce your debts. After filing for Bankruptcy, you can begin the process of rebuilding your credit with careful management. The Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to ten (10) years. Some people who have carefully managed their credit were able to buy a new home within two (2) to four (4) years of filing for Bankruptcy.
What is a discharge?
When you file for Bankruptcy, the debts you owe can be discharged. A discharge is the legal elimination of your personal liability for debts that you owe to creditors. Once the Bankruptcy Court discharges your debt, you will no longer have any legal obligation to pay off the debt. The types of debts that can be discharged include medical bills, credit card debt, unsecured personal loans, and others. During your consultation, we will go over in detail the particular debts you have and which ones will be dischargeable.
Can I get rid of student loans with Bankruptcy?
Normally, student loans are not dischargeable in a Bankruptcy case. When the Bankruptcy case is filed, the student loan company can no longer contact you. Once the Bankruptcy case has been discharged, you will be responsible for resuming payments of the student loans. Student loans may be discharged if you can show that paying back the loan will impose an undue hardship. Undue hardship may apply if you are not able to maintain a minimal standard of living based on your income and expenses if you have to pay back the loans. If you have questions regarding whether your student loans are eligible to be discharged, we can discuss the particular details regarding your case during the consultation.
Who is the Bankruptcy Trustee? What is the Trustee's role in the Bankruptcy Case?
The Trustee is the person assigned by the Bankruptcy Court to handle your case. The Trustee acts as the go-between for you and your creditors. The Trustee will make sure that both you and your creditors follow the Bankruptcy Code. In a Chapter 7, the Trustee will review your Bankruptcy case and determine if a discharge should be granted. In a Chapter 13, a debtor is attempting to pay off some of their debts through a repayment plan that can last from three (3) years to (5) years. The debtor gives money to the Trustee every month. The Trustee makes sure that the money received from the debtor is properly distributed to the creditors. Once the Trustee reviews the case and your Chapter 13 payment plan is completed, the Trustee will determine if the discharge will be granted.
Do I have to go to Court?
Yes, you will have to go to the Bankruptcy Court to attend the "341 Meeting of Creditors". At this Meeting, the Trustee will verify your identity and will ask you questions about the information you provided on your Bankruptcy petition. The Trustee will ask you to swear that all the information you provided is true and accurate. We will be with you at this Meeting and we will prepare you so that you know what to expect. The Court usually schedules this Meeting about thirty (30) days to forty (40) days after the case has been filed. Your attendance at this meeting is mandatory. Creditors are also notified of the meeting and, if they choose to participate, they can ask questions about the your financial status as well. We will answer any questions you have prior to the Meeting of Creditors so that you will be well informed about the entire process. We want to make sure that you feel prepared and as comfortable as possible prior to attending the Meeting.
What Documents do I need to bring to the Meeting of Creditors?
You should bring your driver’s license and social security card to the Meeting of Creditors. Since each individual case may vary, we will let you know if any additional documents are needed at your Meeting of Creditors. We will inform you of what will happen and what to expect prior to your Meeting of Creditors so that you will be prepared for the proceedings.