Steps To Filing Bankruptcy


You should consider filing bankruptcy is the last resort any person should take. Filing bankruptcy can cause a big dent on your credit rating and deeply ruin your reputation. But sometimes filing for bankruptcy is the only solution to get a person out of dire straits.

Here are the nine steps to be followed in filing a bankruptcy:

1. See to it that there is no other solution that you can do to avoid filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy allows for a fresh start. Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (“BAPCPA”), which significantly amended the U.S. Bankruptcy Code effective October 17, 2005, prior to filing a bankruptcy case, an individual must obtain some consumer credit counselling from an entity approved by the U.S. Trustee within 180 days of the date of the filing of a bankruptcy case. Such counselling is intended to provide an individual with alternatives in filing a bankruptcy case.

2. Consider the two common bankruptcy types. The most popular is the chapter 7 (which is a straight or liquidation bankruptcy), and there is also the chapter 13 (which is a repayment plan for individuals). BAPCPA has made chapter 7 to be more difficult to file, because of the means test. Many individuals will be forced to file a chapter 13 case because of this test.

3. Research your options as it relates to filing. Some people choose to file without the aid of a lawyer. But it’s highly recommended to hire a lawyer. Your research should help you decide on a lawyer. In most cases, people who choose large firms to represent them will work with a paralegal and not the lawyer. Try to find a firm in which you have direct contact with your lawyer.

4. Meet with the lawyer you’ve selected and go over your case. Your lawyer should be asking and answering all of your questions. They will determine which chapter is best for you, based on your financial affairs. A lawyer will also assist you with completing the BAPCPA’s means test.

5. Find out how much it will cost. The fees for filing are varied. Some lawyers will charge a flat fee, while others will charge based upon the amount of debt that you have. Some lawyers will require that you pay up front before they file. Refer all creditors to your lawyers office, once he or she has been retained.

6. Wait for a meeting of creditors. Once your lawyer has submitted your petition, you will be notified by mail with your date for a meeting of creditors (or a “341 meeting,” named after the section of the Bankruptcy Code requiring it). This will allow the trustee to ensure that you have given truthful answers on your bankruptcy petition, and that you understood and agreed to filing for bankruptcy.Your lawyer should have met with you prior to this meeting to go over all of your debt to ensure that it is all listed. You must also list all of your assets. He or she will also go over sample questions that will be asked at the meeting. Prior to the meeting, you should have reviewed your file with your lawyer. Once you are sworn in at the meeting, you will answer questions that are recorded.

7. In filing a bankruptcy case, do not use your credit cards. If you do so with the intent to file, a creditor can challenge the discharge of the debt owed or even your right to discharge any debt. If you obtained the debt knowing that you could not repay it, you may not be able to discharge that debt if the creditor challenges it through a lawsuit, or adversary proceeding, in your bankruptcy case.

8. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the trustee will determine whether or not there are assets that can be liquidated and used to repay your creditors. If the trustee determines that all your assets are exempt, a report of no distribution will be filed with the bankruptcy court. If the trustee determines that there are nonexempt assets, they will be sold and payments may be made to your creditors. In a chapter 7 case, you may never have to pay a creditor back. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be required to enter into a 3 to 5 year plan, in which you will pay creditors as much as you can over time, taking into consideration the BAPCPA means test.

9. The 60th day after your meeting of creditors is first set is the deadline for creditors to file lawsuits to challenge the discharge of a particular debt or your entire discharge.If no such lawsuits are filed, shortly after that 60th day you will receive notification of a discharge of debt if you filed chapter 7 bankruptcy. A discharges means that you have no further obligation to repay the discharged debt, the existence of that discharged debt may still appear in your credit reports though, and that your creditors can never collect the debt from you.If you filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you will receive the notice of discharge approximately 30 to 60 days after your final payment has been made and the trustee ensures your payment plan has been followed and completed.

 

 

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