The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy process can be very simple or complicated depending on your specific situation. However, there are several steps you can take to ensure that the process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible:
- Hire an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. There are lots of bankruptcy attorneys out there. Even more have started practicing in this area since the economy worsened and more people have been filing for bankruptcy. It is important that you find an attorney that you are comfortable communicating information to. When considering a firm or attorney, are you able to speak with them on the phone? Will you talk to the same bankruptcy attorney the entire time? It is important you work with an attorney that you can trust. Also consider that you get what you pay for.
- Be honest with your attorney. Communication between you and your attorney is a huge part of completing a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Omitting information from your attorney or failing to provide certain documentation may delay or cause catastrophic issues in your case. If you are up front with your attorney and answer truthfully the questions asked, then your attorney can determine any potential issues from the outset and develop a strategy for mitigating them. An attorney cannot help protect an asset that he has no idea exists. Be honest and upfront with your attorney!
- Attend the required 341 Meeting of Creditors. This meeting typically only lasts about 10 minutes and is an opportunity for the Chapter 7 Trustee or creditors to ask you questions about your bankruptcy filing. It is not very often that a creditor will show up, so typically the Chapter 7 Trustee will ask you a series of general questions. A competent bankruptcy attorney will prepare you for this meeting and be there with you the entire time. Attendance at this meeting is required to receive a Chapter 7 discharge in bankruptcy, which is what wipes out your debt! So you must attend the 341 meeting!
- After the 341 Meeting, your attorney will let you know of any additional information or issues that must be resolved to complete your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Typically, if there are no issues, your work is done! As long as you have been up front and honest with your attorney, your case will conclude and discharge issued in a matter of months from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you have noticed, the key theme for having a smooth and successful Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is effective communication with a competent bankruptcy attorney. The Sader Law Firm has experienced bankruptcy attorneys that can help you navigate the Chapter 7 and other bankruptcy options. Give us a call for a free consultation.