when to take bankruptcy 7 packet to the lawyer aid

by Emmalee Hoeger 7 min read

After you file your bankruptcy papers, the court will assign a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee to your case and schedule your meeting of creditors (also called the 341 meeting). Bankruptcy law requires that you send your trustee certain documents at least seven days before the 341 meeting.

Full Answer

How long does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition take to prepare?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is more than 50 pages long, so it won't come as a surprise that preparing one requires a lot of financial information. But gathering information doesn't have to be miserable.

Do I need a lawyer for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case?

All Chapter 7 cases require you to fill out extensive bankruptcy forms, research exemption laws (to protect property) and follow all local court rules and procedures. If you aren't comfortable doing the work—and assuming the risk—consult with a bankruptcy lawyer.

What should I bring to my Chapter 7 bankruptcy consultation?

If you plan to hire a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, bring copies to the initial consultation. Not only will doing so help the lawyer assess your case but getting documents from clients can be challenging. Showing up prepared will make you a more desirable client.

What happens after I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

After you attend a brief court hearing (the meeting of creditors) and meet a few other requirements, you'll receive your discharge and your case will be closed, usually, four-to-six months after you file for bankruptcy. You must receive credit counseling during the six-month period prior to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.


How long does it take for Chapter 7 to go through?

four to six monthsA Chapter 7 bankruptcy can take four to six months to do, from the time you file to when you receive a final discharge – meaning you no longer have to repay your debt. Various factors shape how long it takes to complete your bankruptcy case.

How long after filing Chapter 7 will it be discharged?

about four to six monthsFor most filers, a Chapter 7 case will end when you receive your discharge—the order that forgives qualified debt—about four to six months after filing the bankruptcy paperwork. Although most cases close after that, your case might remain open longer if you have property that you can't protect (nonexempt assets).

What do you lose when you file Chapter 7?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will generally discharge your unsecured debts, such as credit card debt, medical bills and unsecured personal loans. The court will discharge these debts at the end of the process, generally about four to six months after you start.

Should you seek legal advice when filing for bankruptcy?

Individuals can file bankruptcy without an attorney, which is called filing pro se. However, seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal outcomes.

Does Chapter 7 trustee check your bank account?

Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee will likely check your bank accounts at least once during the process of overseeing your filing. They have a right to perform a full audit of your accounts or check them any time it is necessary. However, it is rare for them to keep close tabs on every account.

Does your credit score go up after Chapter 7 discharge?

Within 2-3 the months, the average credit score after chapter 7 discharge will suffer a 100 points initial jolt. It usually remains in the 500-550 range for the average debtor, unless he was already wallowing in the 450s, for default right and left.

Will I lose my car in Chapter 7?

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and local bankruptcy laws allow you to exempt all of the equity you have in your car, you can keep the vehicle—as long as you're current on your loan payments. And if the market value of a vehicle you own outright is less than the exemption amount, you're in the clear.

What can you not do after filing bankruptcies?

After you file for bankruptcy protection, your creditors can't call you, or try to collect payment from you for medical bills, credit card debts, personal loans, unsecured debts, or other types of debt.

Can creditors collect after Chapter 7 is filed?

Debt collectors cannot try to collect on debts that were discharged in bankruptcy. Also, if you file for bankruptcy, debt collectors are not allowed to continue collection activities while the bankruptcy case is pending in court.

Can you withdraw money before filing bankruptcies?

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if the money is set aside for a specific bill or purpose; if it's not exempt, the trustee can take it. You are allowed to spend the money you have before filing your case. Although that may sound a bit strange, the bankruptcy law and exemptions exist to protect you.

What debts are not discharged in bankruptcy?

The following debts are not discharged if a creditor objects during the case. Creditors must prove the debt fits one of these categories: Debts from fraud. Certain debts for luxury goods or services bought 90 days before filing.

How do I prepare for bankruptcy?

The first step to prepare for bankruptcy is to gather proof of your income. Copies of your tax returns and copies of proof of income for the past six months are required when you file a Chapter 7 case. To prepare for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, you must complete the Chapter 7 Means Test.

What happens after Chapter 7 is filed?

A chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not involve the filing of a plan of repayment as in chapter 13. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells the debtor's nonexempt assets and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay holders of claims (creditors) in accordance with the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.

How long does it take for a Chapter 7 to be removed from credit report?

10 yearsA Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years from the date the bankruptcy was filed, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will fall off your report seven years after the filing date. After the allotted seven or 10 years, the bankruptcy will automatically fall off your credit report.

Can creditors collect after Chapter 7 is filed?

Debt collectors cannot try to collect on debts that were discharged in bankruptcy. Also, if you file for bankruptcy, debt collectors are not allowed to continue collection activities while the bankruptcy case is pending in court.

How soon can I purchase a home after filing Chapter 7?

Generally, you must wait: Two years after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy for FHA loans and VA loans. Three years after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy for USDA loans. One year after Chapter 13 for FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans.

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What form do I need to file for Chapter 7?

You’ll need to complete and file Official Form 108 , titled the Statement of Intention for Individuals Filing Under Chapter 7, if you have any secured debt (listed on your Schedule D) or any unexpired contracts (listed on your Schedule G). For example, if you have a car loan, this form tells the bank what you want to do about it. Even though this form isn’t due until a little later in the process, if you have secured debts it’s best to get this form filed with the rest of your Chapter 7 forms package.

What is the official bankruptcy form?

The Official Bankruptcy Forms. The official bankruptcy forms are the required forms that are the same everywhere in the United States. They’re created by the federal court system. You can download each one of them for free from the U.S. Courts here .

What is Upsolve for bankruptcy?

Upsolve is a nonprofit tool that helps you file bankruptcy for free. Think TurboTax for bankruptcy. Get free education, customer support, and community. Featured in Forbes 4x and funded by institutions like Harvard University so we'll never ask you for a credit card. Explore our free tool

What is an individual bankruptcy?

The term “individual” here (and on the forms) means that the filer asking the court for debt relief is a person, not a business. If a married couple files a joint case, it’s still called an individual bankruptcy.

How many forms are there for Chapter 7?

There are about 23 official forms that are the same in Chapter 7 cases filed anywhere in the United States. Most bankruptcy courts also require certain local forms (sometimes called court forms). The Chapter 7 forms packet consists of a voluntary petition (asking the court for relief), schedules, and statements.

What is considered an asset in bankruptcy?

Part 1 lists real estate and Part 2 lists, well, everything else. In bankruptcy, everything you own is considered an asset, including things you don’t even have yet, but will get in the future. All of your assets are listed on Schedule A/B along with an estimate of how much they could be sold for.

Is it the same if you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?

It’s the same whether you’re filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It contains some basic information about you (including your name and address), what type of bankruptcy you’re filing, whether your debts are mostly consumer debts, and whether you have any nonexempt assets.

What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

A typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is relatively straightforward. You will spend most of your time completing the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and other forms, which will require you to list your debts, assets, financial transactions, and so on. Once you've filed your paperwork, the bankruptcy trustee takes over your case.

What do you have to answer at a bankruptcy meeting?

At the meeting, you will have to answer questions about your finances and bankruptcy forms, under oath, from the trustee and any creditors who show up (often, none attends the meeting). This meeting is typically very short.

What happens if you default on a secured debt?

If you have secured debts -- debts that are backed by collateral, which the creditor has the right to take if you default -- you must give the property back, redeem it (by paying the creditor what it's worth), or reaffirm the debt (agree that you will still owe it after your bankruptcy case is over).

How long does it take for a bankruptcy to be closed?

After you attend a brief court hearing (the meeting of creditors) and meet a few other requirements, you'll receive your discharge and your case will be closed, usually, four-to-six months after you file for bankruptcy.

What happens if you reaffirm debts in bankruptcy?

If you reaffirm any debts and are not represented by a lawyer, you will have to attend a reaffirmation hearing before the judge. For more, see Your Debts in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Can you keep your property in bankruptcy?

On your forms, you will also claim your property exemptions, under state and federal laws that allow you to keep certain property in bankruptcy. Once you have completed this part of the process, an automatic stay goes into place and stops most creditor collection actions against you for the duration of your case.

Can an attorney text you?

Attorneys have the option, but are not required, to send text messages to you. You will receive up to 2 messages per week from Martindale-Nolo. Frequency from attorney may vary. Message and data rates may apply. Your number will be held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a lot like applying for a home mortgage in reverse. You'll complete a lengthy application known as a bankruptcy petition and provide financial documents supporting your figures. Once complete, the court will unwind many of your existing credit accounts and obligations, possibly even all of them.

How long do you have to take a bankruptcy course?

Specifically, the course assesses whether you can handle your finances outside of bankruptcy. You can take it up to 180 days before filing, and it’s good to get it out of the way early—you’ll need the course completion date when you fill out the bankruptcy paperwork.

What happens after a bankruptcy filing?

After filing, the automatic stay will be put in place by the court. It will stop most creditors from contacting you or continuing to collect without first obtaining court permission.

What happens if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court—and your creditors—assume that you'll stop making payments on bills that will get discharged (wiped out) in your bankruptcy case and use the funds to pay legal fees instead. For instance, credit card payments, medical bills, past-due utility payments, and personal loans (such as payday loans) usually qualify for a discharge.

What to do if you can't afford bankruptcy?

If you can't afford a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, consider whether one of the following might work for you: stop making payments on debts that will get wiped out in bankruptcy and pay your attorney instead. borrow the fees from a friend, family member, or even your employer. retain a bankruptcy lawyer who will handle creditor calls ...

What are the free clinics for bankruptcy?

Free Clinics, Legal Aid, and Pro Bono Attorneys. Resources are available to debtors who can't afford a bankruptcy attorney, but they vary depending on where you live. Some bankruptcy courts have free clinics to help debtors file for bankruptcy relief on their own.

How many installments can you pay for bankruptcy?

Otherwise, you might be able to pay the fee in up to four installments. To apply for either, you'll complete and submit the official request forms along with your initial bankruptcy petition. The court will notify you if the judge approves the waiver or installment arrangement.

How much do lawyers pay for retainers?

Some lawyers will let you pay a retainer as low as $100 and then pay the remaining attorneys' fees in installments. However, even though many lawyers offer payment plans, they won't file your case until all fees are paid in full—and for a good reason.

Do you have to file bankruptcy in Chapter 7?

All Chapter 7 cases require you to fill out extensive bankruptcy forms, research exemption laws (to protect property) and follow all local court rules and procedures. If you aren't comfortable doing the work—and assuming the risk—consult with a bankruptcy lawyer.

Can you pay all attorney fees in Chapter 13?

But this chapter doesn't work for everyone.

When are Chapter 7 bankruptcy papers due?

They'll be due at least seven days before the date set for the 341 meeting of creditors —the one hearing that all filers must attend. If you can, submit the forms earlier.

How long is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

The average Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is approximately 50 pages in length, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that you'll need a lot of information to complete the required forms. Being organized will help you complete the bankruptcy forms efficiently.

What happens if a trustee asks for additional documents at a 341 meeting?

If the trustee asks for additional documents at the 341 meeting of creditors, the trustee will likely continue the meeting to allow enough time to review them. Many trustees will cancel the new date after receiving acceptable documentation.

William Joseph Kopp Jr

Timing is very important in BK. Once there is nothing holding up your case, he/she should file right away. However, if he/she waiting on certain things to fall off your timeline, go with that advice. More

Carl H Starrett II

You need to insist on a better answer from your attorney. Some of my clients take weeks or even months to get me the documents needed to file their case. Others get me what I need within hours or days. We can't tell if the delay is on your for not getting the documents to your attorney or if the attorney is really busy...

Dorothy Ann Bartholomew

You are entitled to a better answer than "not to worry." Ask your attorney what specifically is holding up your filing. More

David Earl Phillips

This would depend on the particular circumstances of your case. If you provided all of the documents needed and you are looking at a Chapter 7, usually within a couple of days the papers could be prepared. Almost all bankruptcy attorneys use computer software which helps speed up the process.

What do you need to do before filing for bankruptcy?

In Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers must receive credit counseling from an approved provider before filing for bankruptcy, and complete a financial management course before getting a discharge.

What to do if you decide to file for bankruptcy on your own?

If you decide to file for bankruptcy on your own, find out what services are available in your district for pro se filers. Some bankruptcy courts hold pro se clinics where an attorney describes the bankruptcy options and process. Others can connect you with legal aid organizations that do the same.

What is the best bankruptcy for a home?

For most consumers, the logical choices are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Each type has specific benefits that solve particular problems. Also, property is treated very differently in each chapter. For example, if you want to save your home from foreclosure, Chapter 13 might be your best bet.

What happens in Chapter 7?

Motions or Adversary Actions. Most Chapter 7 cases move along predictably: you file for bankruptcy, attend the 341 meeting of creditors, and then get your discharge. But, that's not always the case. Other, more complicated issues can arise that most pro se filers aren't prepared to handle.

Do you have to file for bankruptcy if you are self represented?

Many self-represented bankruptcy debtors don't file all of the required bankruptcy documents , which, if not remedied, will result in a dismissal of the case.

Can you lose everything in bankruptcy?

You don't lose everything in bankruptcy. Property exemptions play a vital role in protecting property in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. But, many pro se filers don't list the proper exemption to keep an item of property, and, as a result, risk losing it. If you stand to lose valuable property (like your home or car) ...

Can bankruptcy attorneys meet with you?

And most bankruptcy attorneys will meet with you for free for an initial consultation. That might be enough for you to learn that bankruptcy is not for you, to determine which chapter is best for you, or to discover that you have some issues that might mean going it alone is a bad idea.

What does it mean when a legal aid organization asks you to provide more information?

Once a legal aid organization determines that you qualify for its help and look like a good fit for bankruptcy, it will ask you to provide more information. Different legal aid organizations collect this information in different ways. Sometimes that means coming into their office for an interview.

How much does legal aid cost in 2020?

As of October 2020, 200% of the poverty line is an annual salary of $52,400 a year for someone with a family of four and $25,520 for an individual. In October, 125% of the poverty line was $32,750 for a family ...

What is it like to work for a legal aid organization?

What is It Like to Work with a Legal Aid Organization. Legal aid organizations are similar to for-profit law firms in the way they provide help to their clients. Indeed, lawyers are bound by ethical obligations to treat clients that pay fees in the same way they treat clients that do not. If you call a legal aid organization, ...

Can I afford an attorney for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Unfortunately, many Americans who are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy cannot afford attorneys due to their minimal or nonexistent income and/or their high debt . In the words of one debtor, “If I could afford an attorney, I wouldn’t be filing for bankruptcy in the first place.”.

Can you get legal aid if you have a job?

Some legal aid organizations will only help you if you have a job or have assets that creditors may seize. Some organizations have no such rules. Again, there is no way for you to know without calling your local legal aid organization to find out.

Does every legal aid organization file for bankruptcy?

These include tenant-landlord issues, debt collection lawsuits, domestic abuse cases, etc. Not every legal aid organization does bankruptcy, but those that do not are generally able to provide referrals to those organizations that do help with bankruptcy.

Do legal aid organizations have waiting lists?

Sometimes legal aid organizations have waiting lists, but sometimes they don't. If you’re wondering whether your local legal aid organization will take your case, the best thing you can do is give them a call and ask.

Why do bankruptcy attorneys pay fees?

The reason is that any unpaid fees are technically just another unpaid debt that will be discharged in the bankruptcy. The problem is that your bankruptcy attorney probably did not list the unpaid fee as an unsecured debt arguing that it was not discharged. However, you should discuss this with the attorney because the unpaid portion of the fee is not something that the attorney will want to try to enforce because the enforcement would probably subject the attorney to sanctions by the bankruptcy judge.

What happens if you don't pay your attorney in advance?

If you did not pay your attorney in advance (or provide security for payment), then the attorney's fee is an unsecured obligation that is treated the same way as all other unsecured debts.

Do you have to pay attorney fees in Chapter 7?

Yes. If you owe attorney fees when your Chapter 7 is filed, they need to be listed on Schedule F. Any unpaid attorney fees still owing would be Discharged in your Chapter 7, although that attorney will probably will not represent your any more.