If you find yourself in a situation where you need to file chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, then you can make the whole experience much less stressful if you know what to expect in the coming days. Once you have filed, there are still many things you will need to do, so let’s look at what those steps will involve so that you can get through the bankruptcy and then begin rebuilding your financial life.
Meeting of the Creditors
No matter the type of bankruptcy you file, you will be required to attend the meeting of the creditors. This is a very important part of the process and it is mandatory by the courts. The one piece of good news is that it doesn’t happen in front of the judge, but instead in a meeting room with trustees.
When this meeting will take place actually depends on what type of bankruptcy you have filed. For a chapter 13, you can expect the meeting to take place within a couple of weeks after you have filed. For a chapter 7, it can take around a month or a little more time.
Here are the things that will happen during this meeting:
- The trustees will ask you different types of questions about your financial situation and your creditors.
- The trustees will determine if you have any non-exempt types of assets that can be sold as a way to pay your creditors.
You have to answer questions honestly. If you do not, you could be in trouble of perjury because this is still a court process. The meeting itself should last no longer than five minutes unless you attend without an attorney present. If you do not have an attorney, then it could take longer simply because you will not know the proper way to prepare and present information to the trustees.
This is the second thing that you will need to do in order to complete your bankruptcy. This is a time when you will need to reaffirm that you own certain debts. For example, if you have a car that you still owe money on, then you could lose that vehicle if you don’t affirm that you have the debt.
Creditors, for the most part, still have the right to repossess the vehicle if you don’t pay or if the debt has been discharged. If you wish to keep your car, then you will need to attend the reaffirmation hearing and come to an agreement stating you will be obligated to pay for the debt. Depending on the situation, you will need to pay all or part of the debt that would be normally dischargeable in order to keep the property. Basically, you are stating that you will keep paying the car loan so that you will not lose your vehicle.
The reaffirmation hearing needs to be set within a 60 day period after your meeting of the creditors. It is voluntary. In other words, if you don’t care whether you lose property, then you do not have to schedule the hearing.
Either you or your attorney would need to come up with an agreement on how and when you will pay and then that agreement will need to be presented to the judge at the hearing. Keep in mind that the judge will ask questions about your finances and will only approve reaffirmations that you will actually be able to afford.
It is vital that you understand these two steps that will take place after your bankruptcy as they will play a key role in the process. Having an attorney to represent you will ensure these two steps go smoothly and that your best interests are looked after.