Debtor - someone who owes a debt
Creditor - someone who is owed money
Trustee - someone who is appointed by the federal government to act as a referee over the bankruptcy system
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I understand that deciding to file a bankruptcy is often an extremely difficult and emotional decision. I am here to help you make that decision with sound advice and reasoning. Call today to set up your free initial consultation to discuss what options are right for you. Every case is different. You will receive individualized attention and advice based on YOUR needs.
There are two types of personal bankruptcies called Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The U.S. Trustee (the federally appointees who referees the bankruptcy system) describes these two bankruptcy chapters in this way:
Filing the wrong type of bankruptcy can be financially costly, occasionally devastating. It is very important to meet with an attorney who is an expert in filing bankruptcies. The attorneys of Blair, Brady, and Henson have over 62 years of experience of filing bankruptcies and have successfully filed more than 8,500 of them. Some of the differences between the two systems are explained below.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Someone who files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will pay some or all of the debts by working out a restructured payment plan with their creditors. Usually the debtor makes monthly payments to the trustee that are more manageable than their debts would be otherwise. The debtor makes monthly payments to the bankruptcy trustee for 3 to 5 years, and this money is then given to the creditors. During this time, it is illegal for creditors or debt collectors to contact or make phone calls to the debtor. It also stops any lawsuits or wage garnishments that they placed against the debtor. This protection begins immediately when an individual files for bankruptcy. Chapter 13 may also allow a debtor to keep a vehicle or house that otherwise would have been repossessed (even in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy).
The Chapter 13 Process
After speaking with a bankruptcy attorney, the attorney will prepare and file a document with the court that begins the bankruptcy process. It will be important that the debtor give their attorney the following information:
At this time, the debtor will pay a filing fee to the court, although this is often done through the attorney at the same time that the bankruptcy is filed.
The debtor and his attorney will prepare and submit a repayment plan that proposes either monthly or bi-monthly plans that will be made to the trustee. If this plan is approved by the trustee, payments will begin within one month of filing
Within 20-50 days of filing there will be a meeting of creditors at which the debtor is placed under oath and the creditors are permitted to ask questions about the debtor's finances. The meeting generally lasts no more than 15 minutes and creditors typically do not attend.
If the debtor fails to make payments as were agreed to under the payment plan, the bankruptcy may be dismissed by the court. If this happens, the debtor would no longer be under bankruptcy protection, and they would have to file another bankruptcy (and pay the associated court fees).
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Whereas a Chapter 13 bankruptcy involved preparing a repayment plan, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates an individual's assets and may discharge their debts. The role of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to sell the debtor's property, maximizing repayment of debts to creditors.
The process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy begins by meeting with a bankruptcy attorney and supplying the following to their attorney:
After meeting with an attorney, the debtor will pay a filing fee of around $300 to the court. This is often done through one's attorney at the same time that the bankruptcy is filed. Within 40 days of filing the court will hold a meeting of creditors. At this meeting the debtor will be put under oath and both the trustee and creditors may ask questions regarding the debtor's finances. Often creditors do not attend these meetings.
Filing for bankruptcy can be emotionally difficult and technically complex. Bankruptcy is not for everyone. I can help you make the best decision of a difficult financial situation. If you feel that bankruptcy may benefit you, call 479-631-0100 for a free initial consultation.