Chapter 7 Quick overview
DISCHARGE YOUR DEBTS AND START REBUILDING YOUR CREDIT
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy allows you to discharge your debts and start rebuilding your credit in just a few months. A Chapter 7 is often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy, but don’t let the term scare you. Most of our clients do not lose anything in bankruptcy other than their debt.
A Chapter 7 begins with the filing of your bankruptcy petition and schedules. These are prepared by an attorney with your assistance. The documents will contain information including your current income, a list of your property, a list of your creditors, transfers of property you have made within 2 years, and other information regarding your finances.
Once your case has been filed creditors are prohibited from taking any collection actions against you (for more information see automatic stay). Approximately 30-45 days after your case has been filed you will be required to attend a meeting of creditors, often referred to as a 341 hearing. Don’t worry, creditors normally do not show up. At this hearing, your creditors, are represented by an individual referred to as a Chapter 7 Trustee. It is the Chapter 7 Trustee’s job to determine if you have any non-exempt assets available for creditors. You will be sworn in and will give testimony about your income, expenses, assets, and transfers of property. All you need to do is tell the Truth. If you remember something that you failed to disclose previously, now is the time to disclose it.
For most, the 341 hearing is the last hearing that you will have to attend. Around 60 days after your hearing you will receive your discharge and within a short time thereafter your case will be closed.
Although some debts cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 those debts are rare and usually require some wrongdoing on your part.