I am considering filing Chapter 7. What will the attorney ask me, will my bank statements need to be examined, and what happens when you go to Court? Will I need to go before a Judge, or am I interviewed by a Trustee, and how long will I be in Court on my Court day. It all sounds scary, but an option (if I qualify) I am considering.
It's hard to say which specific questions an attorney will be asking you based on your individual situation, but the basic questions an attorney will ask will be regarding your income, budgets, expenses, living situation, family size, finances etc. In order to file for Chapter 7, your bankruptcy petition must include everything that you own, and everything that you owe, as well as personal identifying information.
Every Chapter 7 bankruptcy is administered by a Chapter 7 trustee. The trustee's main task is to sell nonexempt property to repay general unsecured creditors. The trustee looks for bankruptcy fraud, makes sure your paperwork is accurate and conducts and investigation into your property and finances. If you file for Chapter 7, you must attend a meeting with creditors. The meeting is conducted by the trustee and will be set for at least 21 days but no more than 40 days after the day you file your case. The most common documents a Chapter 7 trustee may require you to bring to your meeting are: recorded mortgage documents, car titles, property deeds, bank statements, tax returns and pay stubs.
The filing process can be overwhelming and confusing, I recommend consulting with an attorney to help guide you through the proper steps to take and what to expect. Contact me at 562-984-2074 or email@example.com for more guidance and clarification regarding your question.
This is an excellent question. I generally ask my clients to bring the following documentation/information to our initial free consultation:
• Your paystubs or proof of income for the last six months (if applicable)
• Your most recent creditor statements (i.e. credit card bills, medical bills, loan statements, etc.)
• Your most recent bank statements from all financial institutions
• Your tax returns for the last two years
After reviewing your financial situation and determining whether or not you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (assuming you qualify), the bankruptcy petition and schedules will be prepared by my office for you to sign and date. Once your case is filed, your hearing will take place approximately 5 weeks from the date of filing. At your hearing, you will not appear in front of a judge. You will appear in front of a bankruptcy trustee who has been assigned to your case and is acting for the benefit of your creditors. Your examination with the trustee may only take a few minutes (assuming your petition and schedules were properly prepared by your attorney). However, due to the high number of cases filed, delays may occur when the trustee falls behind schedule. This will ultimately cause your examination to be delayed. As such, I always recommend taking the day off from work in order to avoid creating additional stress on yourself. Once your hearing is completed, you will receive a discharge of your unsecured debts approximately 4 to 4 1/2 months from the date of filing.
If you contact me, I will send you the questionnaire I use when starting a bankruptcy case. It lists all the questions asked by the lawyer. firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can go the link below to NACBA for help in finding a bankruptcy lawyer near you. You could also go to the following link to learn more about the basics of bankruptcy: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy-basics.
You need to talk to a California Bankruptcy attorney for about 20 minutes to get your questions answered. Think of it like a doctor's exam...the specifics of your financial ailment has to be examined as it relates to the relief you may be eligible for under the bankruptcy laws. There is no fast food answer. Call an attorney and request a free consultation.
Agree with colleagues. Too many open ended questions that require more information and time to answer than appropriate for this forum. Some observations and answers follow. Bank statements are relevant. should be reviewed with your attorney. Probably never have to see a judge. You will attend a brief meeting of creditors conducted by a trustee. Meetings average less than a minute in length. Consult BK counsel.
Attorney Caldwell hits it on head exactly: your question is impossible to answer fully as to open ended a question. So I state as follows in paragraph below. But trustee meeting here is about 1 min long assuming no real estate..up first out in 3 min, up 20..means an hour there! You will provide by law the last 60 days proof of income which if income is like Social Security then your bank statements will work; also any bank statements on date of filing must be provided post filing. Trustee ONLY gets $60 to handle your case so they rely on your sworn schedules as to assets owned!
You need and want to enjoy your fresh start also. But the most important thing is to meet with an attorney as you asking this question means you have not. You care about 2 goals: keeping everything you have equity in and discharging all your debts. If you don't have any of the exceptions to discharge you will obtain that goal; most exceptions are set forth in 11 USC. 523 (Google it) like child support, some income taxes, traffic (in a ch 7) and criminal fines , and presumption of student loans. But some debts are dischargeable in a ch 13 but NOT in a ch 7 so you want to make sure and your attorney will discuss any such types with you also!
Your exemptions depend on what state you have lived in in the last 2 years and thus if in your state, then your states exemptions will apply. Most persons filing keep everything they own but your attorney will confirm that with you when they learn everything you own and the equity thereof!
Some secured debts like homes, vehicles, other secured debts an attorney will discuss your options on also as you must list any debts; but that does not mean you will lose them unless you have too much equity or are in default on paying for them! Discuss those options if they apply with your attorney too.
But other issues can arise that can greatly harm your case. Just one example: If you paid back a relative $3,000 11 months ago and now file bankruptcy next week, the trustee can SUE that relative to retrieve that $3,000 (under what is called a preference) for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate. As a result, most attorneys don't charge to meet with them the first meeting so meet with one no matter what.
Many great attorneys can be found right here on AVVO in your state so look, call, and meet one as soon as you can.
You should also want to know when to file: is there an advantage of waiting versus filing now and who should you pay between now and then! Good luck and enjoy your later fresh start.
The questions you ask are good, but the answers are time consuming. Sufficiently time consuming that I usually spend about half an hour talking with potential clients about in an initial consultation. I suggest you call some local bankruptcy attorneys and schedule a few appointments for initial consultations and pick the one who seems most competent and with whom you get along best. the attorneys will ask about your income, expenses, family size, etc. Your court hearing will likely last 5 minutes or less, but you will likely be there for several hours waiting for your case to be called. You will meet with the Trustee assigned to handle your case.
When you meet with an attorney, they will ask questions about various finances, any pending litigation, transfers of assets, living situation, monthly budgets, and more. Your bankruptcy petition has to include everything that you own, and everything that you owe, as well as personal identifying information, recent repayments, transfers, and an assortment of other information. Typically a Trustee will also need to examine bank statements for all accounts that you have an interest in as well as tax returns and pay stubs prior to your meeting with the Trustee.
Your attorney will help with all this information.
There are many things you need to discuss with your lawyer, so make some calls, set up an appointment or two, and you'll get answers based on your actual situation.