Key facts about Bankruptcy you need to know:
All things considered, do I qualify for Bankruptcy?
Whether a person actually qualifies for Bankruptcy is a question that requires careful consideration.No matter if it is for Business or Personal reasons, the decision to file for bankruptcy is not one to be taken lightly.
A potential Bankruptcy filer, be they an individual or a business have many options to consider. In considering your options, it is vitally important that you have the advice and counsel of an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney. Although a person or business can technically qualify for Bankruptcy, it might not be the best choice to resolve their financial problems.
The advice and counsel of an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney will give the necessary guidance that is needed to actually understand the process. In this way, the potential Bankruptcy filer could become familiar with the process and be able to make a truly informed decision. Thus, the question of whether I qualify for Bankruptcy, all things considered, can be answered in an informed manner.
Can I go it alone, or do I really need an attorney?
Life is full of unexpected difficulties and problems. When they are of a financial nature and are overwhelming, Bankruptcy is something that should at least be looked into. Many individuals experience financial difficulties through no fault of their own. Common problems that arise are:
1. Job loss
2. Wage Garnishments
3. Inability to meet their monthly financial obligations to pay their bills including consumer credit debt
4. Being harassed by creditors
5. Divorce and upending their financial lives.
When any of the above situations happen, it is best to consult with an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney. Our office is here to help guide you through the Bankruptcy system. We are here to help you understand Bankruptcy and to make a truly informed decision about whether Bankruptcy is really right for you.
When choosing a Bankruptcy Representation, several things separate quality firms from the pack. Initially, good Bankruptcy Representation should relieve the individual of the stress of having overwhelming debt from that very first office visit. From the conclusion of that first office visit, the client should have the feeling that the Attorney is committed to getting them into a healthy financial state.
The client has their stress and anxiety relieved from that first office visit because the Attorney prepares them. Preparation is achieved via the attorney's efforts to educate the client on their various options. The attorney does this first and foremost by really understanding what the client’s true situation is. Finally, quality Bankruptcy representation requires the Attorney to take the time to inform the client every step of the way throughout the process.
What is it actually like going through bankruptcy and what can I expect the results to be?
1. Selection of an attorney and the importance of that first office visit
It should not be underemphasized that the first concern should be to select experienced and quality representation. Once you have selected an experienced attorney who is qualified to give you expert legal guidance, an appointment should be made.
The purpose of this initial attorney meeting is to completely convey your actual financial situation. Not only must you fully disclose all your actual liabilities, your complete list of assets must be disclosed also.
2. Information or documents that the bankruptcy attorney will need to start
Generally speaking, an individual must inform their Bankruptcy Attorney about their complete financial situation. The Attorney should fully understand what assets the client has and exactly to whom and how much the client owes.
In order to achieve a complete understanding of the client’s financial situation for the Attorney as well as the Bankruptcy Trustee, certain documents must be produced. These documents are standard and generally help paint a good financial picture of the client.
The following documents are standard to most Bankruptcies:
1. The last two years of tax returns
2. The last 6 months paystubs or proof of income
3. Bank Account information
4. Pension and other Retirement Account Information
5. Life Insurance Information
6. Value of Real Estate owned
7. Car Payment Information
8. Mortgage Payment Information
9. Spouse income information
10. List of creditors and amounts owed to each
11. Interests in Pending Lawsuits
The above information list is general and applies to most debtors. However, depending on the individual, more information may be needed.
3. Actual processing of the bankruptcy petition
Upon receiving all the above information, the Attorney will prepare the actual Bankruptcy Petition. The Chapter used will depend on the situation of the client and what is in their best interest. In personal Bankruptcy cases, the individual will file either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Petition. All Petitions will show the current financial situation of the debtor. Chapter 7 Petition being the easiest and Chapter 13 is the more complicated one.
4. The actual filing of the bankruptcy petition
The actual filing of the Bankruptcy Petition is done by the Bankruptcy Attorney’s Office. It is done electronically from the Bankruptcy Law Office directly to the Bankruptcy Court. Payment of Court Filing Fees is also done electronically
5. Meeting of bankruptcy creditors
After the Bankruptcy Petition is filed, a notice is sent out to all the creditors. Once received, the creditors are forbidden by the Automatic Stay from pursuing the debtor any longer. The Automatic Stay is a basic benefit of the Bankruptcy process that prohibits any more adverse actions against the Debtor by the creditors.
The Notice to the Creditors called a “Notice of Commencement of Case” is the official notice from the Bankruptcy Court to the creditors that a Bankruptcy is pending. Specific information regarding the case is given at that time detailing the Debtor information and anything else that is relevant. At the meeting of creditors, also known as a 341a Meeting of Creditors, a creditor has an opportunity to appear and question the debtor.
The main reason for this meeting of creditors is for the court-appointed trustee to be able to review the Petition and check into its accuracy. The Trustee takes testimony regarding the financial affairs of the debtor and any other relevant facts presented in the petition.
6. Getting a discharge in your bankruptcy case
Once the Meeting of Creditors is complete, the parties, namely the creditors or the Trustee can object. If they do not file a complaint objecting to the discharge within 60 days, the debtor gets a Discharge. The Discharge eliminates all the debt that was on the Petition.