Today we continue on filing bankruptcy and the chapter 7 issues presented from my previous blogs. Many people are interested in what a bankruptcy does, how it is done, how do they keep and protect their property and what is the cost. As to a chapter 7, from the time the petition is filed until date of discharge, the matter often times will last 4 months. The relief from creditor action begins on the date of the bankruptcy filing. All telephone calls, debt collection letters, demand letters, law suits, collection activity, bank account garnishment, sheriff sales are stopped!
The 4 month process is intended to give a debtor relief and to organize the property of the debtor for administration. In nearly all consumer cases, the administration of that person’s property means that the filing party (the debtor – you or your family member) gets to keep EVERYTHING he or she owns. What is lost are the bills and debt obligations. If you want to keep your house, you keep it, subject to continuing to pay the mortgage(s); if you want to keep your car(s), you keep it, subject to continuing to pay the loan. Your retirement is safe; your household goods and furnishings are safe.
This information about keeping your property in bankruptcy is accurate for most people. Of course every person’s case is different. You need to retain the services of an experienced bankruptcy attorney to advise you as to the proper protection of your property. There are many “gotcha’s” in the bankruptcy process and you want to be sure you use the correct exemptions and employ the right strategy. There are instances when it is better not to file a bankruptcy and use a different approach to solving a client’s debt issues.
After a bankruptcy petition is filed, we must prepare for the Meeting of the Creditors; this is also known as the 341 meeting as Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code mandates that the debtor meet with the panel trustee who is appointed to oversee the case. My staff works with you to provide all of the required documentation well in advance of the meeting. I will have you well prepared for this meeting, explain all of the requirements and what will happen. At the Meeting, most people get to keep all of their fingers and toes but there are exceptions! A bankruptcy 341 meeting is nerve wracking for many clients; you can have confidence that you will be well prepared for it.
More on the chapter 7 process later.
If you have an organization or a group of people who are interested in having a speaker present on the issues of debt settlement, chapter 7, chapter 13 bankruptcy, consumer law and protection issues, divorce, or wills, powers of attorney and health care declarations, please contact my office to arrange for a speaker to talk about filing bankruptcy and to attend your function. 215-822-2728.