What are the Proper Steps in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL
Wading through all that is needed to pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an overwhelming process to manage. Chances are you will have a number of worries over how your Chapter 7 will ultimately be resolved. A bankruptcy attorney can play a key role in providing you with the necessary education required to fully understand the process. Not only can a bankruptcy attorney assist in alleviating some of the stress that comes with the bankruptcy process, they can also help to outline the proper components to each step of the process. Some of the necessary steps for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may involve:
Step #1 Attend a Credit Counseling Program
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, a petitioner will be required to attend an approved credit counseling program. There are a number of approved programs available online. This should be done in a timeframe relatively close to filing for bankruptcy, or within 6 months of filing.
Step #2 Complete the Voluntary Petition Form
There will be a variety of forms that your attorney will be able to help you fill out for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. The voluntary petition outlines the debtor’s basic information. Additional documents required may include your assets, financial information, property, and income.
Step #3 Complete and Pass the Means Test
The means test is a method utilized to determine if a person is eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The means test will examine your income and expenses to determine if there is any possible way for you to realistically pay back your debts on your own. If you are unable to pass the means test, you may look to Chapter 13 bankruptcy for debt relief.
Step #5 The Automatic Stay Takes Effect
Once you have filed the initial bankruptcy paperwork, the automatic stay will take effect. This can come as a great relief for a debtor. Any actions taken by creditors to collect debts must come to a stop once the automatic stay is granted.
Step #6 A Trustee is Assigned to Your Case
The court will appoint a trustee to oversee your specific case. The trustee will begin by reviewing all of the information that you have submitted to the courts for your bankruptcy. They will then work to liquidate assets to repay debts to your creditors.
Step #7 “341 Meeting” or Meeting of the Creditors
One of the final steps of the process will be the meeting with the creditors. A debtor is required to attend this meeting. Your attorney will also be present for this process to provide you with legal counsel. At this meeting, your creditors are invited to attend and will ask you a number of questions regarding the paperwork you have filed.
Step #8 Discharge
In the final step to the bankruptcy process, the court will discharge your debts (with the exception of student loan debt, alimony and child support). Following the discharge, your creditors will no longer have the ability to obtain debts from you.
Are you crippled with debt? Fearful of what the future may hold? Worried of losing your home? It’s only natural to feel filled with concerns and anxiety over what is to come. Contacting a bankruptcy attorney, like a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL, may be helpful in taking on a supportive and knowledgeable role when facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.
For more information, call the Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. for more insight into bankruptcy.