Bankruptcy FAQ
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Bankruptcy FAQ


Updated: December 26, 2012

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Bankruptcy FAQ
January
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Q: What is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy? A: Chapter 7 is the Bankruptcy Code`s liquidation chapter. It is  sometimes referred to as "straight bankruptcy". A Chapter 7 trustee is appointed to take over your property. Any property of value will be sold or turned into money to pay your creditors. Depending on the law of the State in which you file, you may be able to keep some of your personal and real property. If you have the ability to repay your debts, after taking into account reasonable and necessary living expenses, you may not qualify for relief under this chapter.

Q: What is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
A: Chapter 13 is frequently referred to as the "wage earner" chapter. Only an individual with regular income that owes, on the date of the filing of the petition, noncontingent, liquidated, unsecured debts of less than $269,250 and noncontingent, liquidated, secured debts of less than $807,750, or an individual with regular income and such individual`s spouse, except a stockbroker or a commodity broker, that owe, on the date of the filing of the petition, noncontingent, liquidated, unsecured debts that aggregate less than $269,250 and noncontingent, liquidated, secured debts of less than $807,750 may be a debtor under Chapter 13. Under Chapter 13 you repay your debts (or a portion thereof) through a repayment plan. You can usually keep your property, but you must earn wages or have some other source of regular income to be a debtor under this chapter. The Court must approve your repayment plan and budget. A Chapter 13 trustee is appointed, and will collect the payments from you. The trustee, in turn, will pay your creditors and monitor your compliance with the terms of your repayment plan. After completion of all payments under your plan, you will receive your discharge.

Q: What is a Chapter 11 bankruptcy?
A: A chapter 11 bankruptcy allows businesses and individuals to reorganize their financial affairs by making payments to creditors through a plan of reorganization.

Q: What is the difference between the U.S. Trustee and the Trustee assigned to a case?
A: The United States Trustee`s Office is part of the Department of Justice, which oversees all bankruptcy cases. A Trustee is a private individual appointed by the United States Trustee to supervise and administer a particular case.

Q: Do you have to have an attorney to file for bankruptcy?
A: If you are filing as an INDIVIDUAL, you may file your own case. However, if you are filing as a CORPORATION or PARTNERSHIP you must file through an attorney.

Q: What is a discharge?
A: A discharge is a Court Order that says you do not have to pay a certain amount of your debts. Creditors cannot force you to pay any debts which have been discharged. However, there are many exceptions. For example, in Chapter 7 a discharge does not excuse payment of most tax debts, child support obligations, alimony, student loans, court-ordered fines and restitution, and debts created by fraud or drunk driving among others. In addition, your discharge may be denied entirely if you conceal property, destroy, falsify, or conceal records or make a false oath. A creditor may still attempt to repossess collateral that secures payment of the debt. Please consult an attorney to find out which debts are dischargeable for your individual situation.

Q: Where do I go to get the forms and information on filing for bankruptcy?
A: From your local Bankruptcy Court or your Attorney.

Q: I need a copy of my [document].
A: Please contact your local Bankruptcy Court.

Q: When will my case be closed/final?
A: You should speak to your attorney regarding the closing of your case. Generally, a chapter 7 no-asset case will be closed approximately 60-90 days after the 341 Meeting of Creditors, and a chapter 7 asset case will be closed approximately 90-120 days after a Final Report is filed and after all assets have been administered. Generally, a chapter 11 case will be closed after a Final Decree is entered. Generally, a chapter 13 case will be closed approximately 60-90 days after the Final Report is filed. (Chapter 13 cases last from 36 to 60 months before closing begins).

Q: What`s the status of a particular case?
A: Please contact your local Bankruptcy Court.

Q: What is the balance on my Chapter 13 account?
A: Please contact your chapter 13 trustee.

Q: One of my creditors is not accepting my discharge. He wants his money. Will you call him and enforce my discharge?
A: No, please contact your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, then you need to consider seeking legal advice. Send your creditor a copy of your discharge with a copy of the page of the schedules listing that creditor might solve the problem.

Q: I would like information on property for sale by the Trustee - where can I obtain this?
A: Please go to your location's Trustee list on this site and contact him/her directly.

Q: How can I find out if John Doe has filed bankruptcy?
A: Please call your local Bankruptcy Court.

341 Meeting of Creditors.

Q: What exactly is a "341 Meeting of Creditors"?
A: An 11 U.S.C. 341(a) Meeting of Creditors (aka 341 meeting), provides a forum for creditors and parties-in-interest to ask the debtor questions under oath about the debtor`s financial affairs.

Q: Do I have to appear at the 341 meeting (asked by both debtors and creditors)?
A: Debtors MUST appear at the meeting; creditors may appear, but it`s not mandatory.

Q: I cannot make it to the 341 meeting on that day and at that time. What do I do?
A: Debtors must appear at the meeting or their case may be dismissed.

Q: Where do I go for my Chapter 7 or 11 341 meeting?
A: Please call your local district office.

Q: How do I get to your office or to the 341 Hearing Room from where I live?
A: A good way to navigate is to use a directions/mapping service such as www.mapquest.com.

Q: What about parking? Do you validate if we park in the building?
A: Parking is not validated in ANY of the hearing room locations.

Q: Is the building/meeting room accessible for people with disabilities?
A: Yes, all Region 12 locations conform to accessibility codes.

Q: How do I confirm a 341 meeting date and time?
A: Check your Notice of Meeting of Creditors to confirm the date and time. If you do not have your notice, please call your attorney. If you don`t have an attorney, please call the court.

Q: Can I bring my children to the 341 meeting?
A: We prefer that children not attend as waiting room space is limited. However, if they are quiet and well-behaved, they are permitted.

Q: Our attorney is tied up at another hearing.
A: If your attorney is not present at the time your 341 meeting is called, please let the trustee know you are present and that your attorney is not. Generally, the trustee will then "trail" your meeting until the end of that hour`s calendar. If your attorney is not present when your case is called again, please present yourself to the trustee, and follow his or her instructions. Generally, if you are represented by counsel, your attorney must be present while you are examined by the trustee. If your attorney is not present for a court hearing, let the Judge know you are present when your case is called, and follow the Judge`s instructions on what to do next.

Q: What if I am going to be late (stuck in traffic, car problems, etc.) - do I still need to come to the 341 meeting?
A: Yes, attendance at the 341 meeting is mandatory.

Bankruptcy Fraud

Q: What should I do if I have information that a debtor may be hiding assets and/or has not listed them on the schedules?
Q: I know that a debtor has hidden and/or transferred assets before he/she filed bankruptcy. What should I do?
Q: I want to report bankruptcy fraud. How do I go about this?
A: If you have a complaint or concern regarding fraud in a bankruptcy filing, please detail the concern in writing and send a letter to the U.S. Trustee in your area with a copy to any assigned trustee. Please include:

Your name
Your address
Your daytime phone number
A clear and concise explanation of the fraud
Copies of any documents you have related to the case

We must have something in writing in order to investigate or refer to law enforcement authorities.

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