Fairness under the law often leads to disappointed debtors who were unaware of the limitations of filing bankruptcy. In order to help you avoid unrealistic expectations, and to accomplish as much as the law allows, here are five things you need to know before filing bankruptcy.
1. What is the means test?
Basically, the means test is a qualification test for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You must meet certain statutory income requirements in order to be eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you are outside of this income requirement, you may not be able to file bankruptcy under chapter 7. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can work to find a way to fit you into this requirement, and this topic is something you and your attorney will discuss once you meet.
2. What is a bankruptcy trustee?
A bankruptcy trustee is a court-appointed official who handles your bankruptcy estate to make sure everything is done properly. Your bankruptcy trustee checks to ensure full disclosure is given, and there are no assets listed in your bankruptcy petition that shouldn’t be there. This will have particular importance in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as certain assets will be liquidated to eliminate your debt.
3. What is a 341 hearing?
The 341 hearing is also referred to as the meeting of the creditors. This is a meeting of you and all of your creditors, which is conducted by the trustee. It is up to your creditors whether they show up or not, and it is highly unlikely that all of them will. The trustee will be there to ask you questions regarding the information you provided in your bankruptcy petition and to find out if you have any assets with which to pay off your creditors. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will help you prepare for this meeting to ensure that you are ready to answer any questions regarding your bankruptcy estate.
4. Bankruptcy will not stop a foreclosure.
Bankruptcy can slow down or delay foreclosure proceedings, but it is not an end to foreclosure. By reorganizing your debt under Chapter 11, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may be able to save your home when your mortgage payments are delinquent. However, once a lender has obtained a final judgment of foreclosure, it cannot be revisited by the judge under any bankruptcy proceeding. Anyone who has told you otherwise has not given you the complete story.
5. Bankruptcy requires work from you.
Filing bankruptcy is not a quick fix. Your bankruptcy petition should address each and every debt you have. This level of detail requires time and effort on your part to review thoroughly your finances to uncover every single creditor you might owe. This list includes friends, family members, business associates, or anyone else who may be able to file a claim against you for unpaid debt. This thorough process will ensure that you get what you want, the elimination of all of your debt under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Any debts left out of your bankruptcy petition may not be discharged, and those creditors will be free to come after you once bankruptcy is over.
Free Consultation: Oklahoma Bankruptcy Attorney
To find out more about how to file bankruptcy successfully in Oklahoma, contact a Oklahoma City bankruptcy attorney. For a free confidential consultation about your rights in bankruptcy court and the potential benefits of filing bankruptcy, contact the Debt Line Law Office at (918) 878-0010. If you prefer e-mail, send us your question using the form at the top right of this page and we’ll answer your question as soon as possible.