When you retain this office, you will receive a questionnaire or worksheet to be filled out and return to me. Return the questionnaire along with the requested copies of tax returns, pay stubs, car titles and deeds. We use the information in the worksheet to prepare the bankruptcy petition and schedules. In most cases, it takes from 1 to 2 weeks to prepare the petition for signing. It can take longer if additional information or documents are needed.
You must take the pre‑filing course in Credit Counseling. You will receive a Certificate of Completion which must be provided to me and filed with your bankruptcy petition.
When your petition is ready to be signed, you will receive a letter from me asking you to clear a time to come in and sign the petition and schedules. Chapter 13 filers will also have to review and sign their Chapter 13 plan. Your petition will be filed a few days following signing.
After the petition is filed the bankruptcy court mails a notice of filing to all your creditors. The notice acts by law as Court Order forbidding contact with you and any attempt to collect debts from you. All contact, including phone calls, letters, filing or continuation of lawsuits must stop.
About two weeks after filing you will receive a Notice of Creditor’s Meeting which will take place from four to six weeks after you file (a little longer for Chapter 13 filers). Copies of certain materials must be provided to the trustee’s office at least 7 days before the meeting. You will also receive a letter from this office telling you about the meeting and the materials to be provided to the trustee.
You must attend the meeting and answer any questions the trustee has regarding the information contained in the petition and schedules. The trustee is appointed by the Office of the Attorney General and it is the duty and obligation of the trustee to investigate and be certain that all your assets have been properly scheduled, that the values are accurate, that all your income has been disclosed and that both you and your creditors receive their proper share of the bankruptcy estate (i.e. your assets on the day of filing). After the meeting, in Chapter 7 cases, the trustee will file a report with the court. In the case of Chapter 13 filers there is a second step in which the trustee and the court review your Chapter 13 plan. This takes place at a confirmation hearing and attendance by the debtor is not usually required. When the plan is confirmed you will receive an Order Confirming Plan which you must read carefully and follow.
This is a course in Financial Management and again you will receive a certificate of completion which will need to be returned to me to be filed before you may receive a discharge.
For Chapter 7 filers this usually occurs from 3 to 5 months after the 341 meeting. For Chapter 13 filers after the last plan payment is made. This is the reason for filing the bankruptcy it acts as a forgiveness of your pre‑filing bankruptcy debts. It is the fresh start that the bankruptcy code intends for every filer. Good Luck!
You can call Gregory N. Burns, P.A. at (239) 334-7107 to answer your questions about bankruptcy proceedings, Bankruptcy Steps in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, or to schedule a free consultation.