The Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyers at MJB Law Group are certified bankruptcy specialists in Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13, stopping bankruptcy . Chapter 7 is known as “straight” bankruptcy” or “liquidation.” In a Chapter 7, a list of all of your assets and debts is filed with the bankruptcy court. The court will appoint a “trustee” to represent the interests of your creditors and can sell your property to pay debts. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Facts. Fact # 1. Unless you have committed fraud, Chapter 7 bankruptcy erases your unsecured credit card debt. Fact # 2. The benefits of Chapter 7 kick in as soon as your case is filed. You immediately get protection from creditor calls. Fact # 3Location: Madison Avenue, Suite PNC Bank Building, Toledo, , Ohio.
This meeting is not even in front of a judge—typically the only people that appear at the hearing are your attorney and the Chapter 7 trustee. All of this happens in about first month after your case is filed. After that, your attorney will keep you informed regarding any happenings in your case, but you will probably not be as involved in the process. This means that you can focus on getting back to your life as normal.
Believe it or not, credit is available shortly after bankruptcy. Until you rehabilitate your credit, you can expect to pay higher interest rates and the terms may not be favorable.
But bankruptcy allows a fresh start and an opportunity to rebuild your credit worthiness. Over 1. The odds are you know someone who has filed bankruptcy. Think you are alone? Think again. Bankruptcy lawyer Eric W.
Lomas solves debt problems. He provides clients with personal attention and practical advice, helping ease the stress caused by lawsuits, foreclosure, garnishments, and creditor harassment. Unable to display Facebook posts. Show error. News and notes from Wichita, Kansas bankruptcy attorney Eric W. Lomas on the topics of bankruptcy and debt relief. Bankruptcy cases are filed and adjudicated in specialized federal bankruptcy courts, and each federal judicial district has its own bankruptcy court.
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Accordingly, potential debtors should realize that the filing of a petition under chapter 7 may result in the loss of property. To qualify for relief under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, the debtor may be an individual, a partnership, or a corporation or other business entity. Subject to the means test described above for individual debtors, relief is available under chapter 7 irrespective of the amount of the debtor's debts or whether the debtor is solvent or insolvent.
An individual cannot file under chapter 7 or any other chapter, however, if during the preceding days a prior bankruptcy petition was dismissed due to the debtor's willful failure to appear before the court or comply with orders of the court, or the debtor voluntarily dismissed the previous case after creditors sought relief from the bankruptcy court to recover property upon which they hold liens.
In addition, no individual may be a debtor under chapter 7 or any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code unless he or she has, within days before filing, received credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency either in an individual or group briefing. There are exceptions in emergency situations or where the U. If a debt management plan is developed during required credit counseling, it must be filed with the court. One of the primary purposes of bankruptcy is to discharge certain debts to give an honest individual debtor a "fresh start.
In a chapter 7 case, however, a discharge is only available to individual debtors, not to partnerships or corporations. Although an individual chapter 7 case usually results in a discharge of debts, the right to a discharge is not absolute, and some types of debts are not discharged. Moreover, a bankruptcy discharge does not extinguish a lien on property. A chapter 7 case begins with the debtor filing a petition with the bankruptcy court serving the area where the individual lives or where the business debtor is organized or has its principal place of business or principal assets.
Debtors must also provide the assigned case trustee with a copy of the tax return or transcripts for the most recent tax year as well as tax returns filed during the case including tax returns for prior years that had not been filed when the case began.
Individual debtors with primarily consumer debts have additional document filing requirements. They must file: a certificate of credit counseling and a copy of any debt repayment plan developed through credit counseling; evidence of payment from employers, if any, received 60 days before filing; a statement of monthly net income and any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing; and a record of any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts.
A husband and wife may file a joint petition or individual petitions. Even if filing jointly, a husband and wife are subject to all the document filing requirements of individual debtors. The Official Forms may be purchased at legal stationery stores or download.
They are not available from the court. Normally, the fees must be paid to the clerk of the court upon filing. With the court's permission, however, individual debtors may pay in installments. The number of installments is limited to four, and the debtor must make the final installment no later than days after filing the petition. For cause shown, the court may extend the time of any installment, provided that the last installment is paid not later than days after filing the petition.
If a joint petition is filed, only one filing fee, one administrative fee, and one trustee surcharge are charged. Debtors should be aware that failure to pay these fees may result in dismissal of the case.
In order to complete the Official Bankruptcy Forms that make up the petition, statement of financial affairs, and schedules, the debtor must provide the following information:. Married individuals must gather this information for their spouse regardless of whether they are filing a joint petition, separate individual petitions, or even if only one spouse is filing. In a situation where only one spouse files, the income and expenses of the non-filing spouse are required so that the court, the trustee and creditors can evaluate the household's financial position.
Among the schedules that an individual debtor will file is a schedule of "exempt" property. The Bankruptcy Code allows an individual debtor 4 to protect some property from the claims of creditors because it is exempt under federal bankruptcy law or under the laws of the debtor's home state. Many states have taken advantage of a provision in the Bankruptcy Code that permits each state to adopt its own exemption law in place of the federal exemptions.
In other jurisdictions, the individual debtor has the option of choosing between a federal package of exemptions or the exemptions available under state law. Thus, whether certain property is exempt and may be kept by the debtor is often a question of state law. The debtor should consult an attorney to determine the exemptions available in the state where the debtor lives. Filing a petition under chapter 7 "automatically stays" stops most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor's property.
But filing the petition does not stay certain types of actions listed under 11 U. The stay arises by operation of law and requires no judicial action. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments.
The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor. Between 21 and 40 days after the petition is filed, the case trustee described below will hold a meeting of creditors.
If the U. During this meeting, the trustee puts the debtor under oath, and both the trustee and creditors may ask questions. The debtor must attend the meeting and answer questions regarding the debtor's financial affairs and property. If a husband and wife have filed a joint petition, they both must attend the creditors' meeting and answer questions.
Within 10 days of the creditors' meeting, the U. It is important for the debtor to cooperate with the trustee and to provide any financial records or documents that the trustee requests. The Bankruptcy Code requires the trustee to ask the debtor questions at the meeting of creditors to ensure that the debtor is aware of the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy such as the effect on credit history, the ability to file a petition under a different chapter, the effect of receiving a discharge, and the effect of reaffirming a debt.
Some trustees provide written information on these topics at or before the meeting to ensure that the debtor is aware of this information. In order to preserve their independent judgment, bankruptcy judges are prohibited from attending the meeting of creditors. In order to accord the debtor complete relief, the Bankruptcy Code allows the debtor to convert a chapter 7 case to a case under chapter 11, 12, or 13 6 as long as the debtor is eligible to be a debtor under the new chapter.
However, a condition of the debtor's voluntary conversion is that the case has not previously been converted to chapter 7 from another chapter. Thus, the debtor will not be permitted to convert the case repeatedly from one chapter to another. When a chapter 7 petition is filed, the U. If all the debtor's assets are exempt or subject to valid liens, the trustee will normally file a "no asset" report with the court, and there will be no distribution to unsecured creditors.
Most chapter 7 cases involving individual debtors are no asset cases. But if the case appears to be an "asset" case at the outset, unsecured creditors 7 must file their claims with the court within 90 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. A governmental unit, however, has days from the date the case is filed to file a claim. In the typical no asset chapter 7 case, there is no need for creditors to file proofs of claim because there will be no distribution.
If the trustee later recovers assets for distribution to unsecured creditors, the Bankruptcy Court will provide notice to creditors and will allow additional time to file proofs of claim. Although a secured creditor does not need to file a proof of claim in a chapter 7 case to preserve its security interest or lien, there may be other reasons to file a claim. A creditor in a chapter 7 case who has a lien on the debtor's property should consult an attorney for advice. Commencement of a bankruptcy case creates an "estate.
It consists of all legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the commencement of the case, including property owned or held by another person if the debtor has an interest in the property. Generally speaking, the debtor's creditors are paid from nonexempt property of the estate. The primary role of a chapter 7 trustee in an asset case is to liquidate the debtor's nonexempt assets in a manner that maximizes the return to the debtor's unsecured creditors.
The trustee accomplishes this by selling the debtor's property if it is free and clear of liens as long as the property is not exempt or if it is worth more than any security interest or lien attached to the property and any exemption that the debtor holds in the property.
The trustee may also attempt to recover money or property under the trustee's "avoiding powers. In addition, if the debtor is a business, the bankruptcy court may authorize the trustee to operate the business for a limited period of time, if such operation will benefit creditors and enhance the liquidation of the estate.