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BANKRUPTCY IS A VERY COMPLICATED INTERPLAY OF SEVERAL DIFFERENCE STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS.
This area of practice should not be undertaken without adequate representation. For your own sake, please do not use document preparers or attorneys who do not practice bankruptcy law full time. Most bankruptcy lawyers offer free or very low cost initial consultations.
Unlike so many Arizona bankruptcy law firms (especially those advertising on TV or paid ads on the Internet) our focus is on quality, not quantity. As such we are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of professional service.
Over the years we discovered that bankruptcy is so daunting for our clients that many freeze and are unable to help themselves.
Therefore, we decided to use technology to make this complicated process as simple as possible. We focus on education, ease of access to information and setting up a process that puts clients in control. This allows our clients to proceed at their own pace rather than the lawyer’s. The minimum time to process an entire bankruptcy is usually 2 weeks. This includes the client completing all the steps listed below and meeting twice with Diane and Jay. The average to complete a bankruptcy and have it filed is 4 weeks, with many clients taking several months. But, we have had some clients take a few days. The process we have designed allows the client to move as fast or slow as they want or need. But, we will not file a bankruptcy unless the client has completed all the work.
What we need from you: you must be willing to spend time doing the work.
You must be willing to follow directions. You must have access to a computer and the Internet. You must keep your appointments. You must bring the paperwork requested when requested. You must regularly use email and respond in a short time.
If you do your job then I promise to do mine.
IN EXCHANGE FOR DOING THE ABOVE WE PROMISE TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
(1) Keep our fees to a minimum, but in order to do that we must ask for your commitment to follow directions and ask smart questions. If you do not have that commitment, then our fees must be increased to cover the additional time spent on your case, or we may decide to not take your case.
(2) We also promise to make access to information available when you need it, not just when we are in the office.
(3) Next, assuming you do your job (quality information, timely response and follow our directions) we will try to make the process as easy for you as is practically possible.
WHAT IS OUR BANKRUPTCY PROCESS?
Chapter-7-flow-chart.pdf (2245 downloads) Print this document and check off each step.
(1) – Watch the videos which explains the basics of bankruptcy, including the differences between chapters 7 and 13.
If you are married both spouses must watch the video.
(2) – Complete the on-line questionnaire and it will be sent to our office
Make sure to fill out all the information on the questionnaire. Otherwise Jay will ask you complete the form or watch the videos. Diane will call you (and your spouse if applicable) to discuss the questionnaire and answer any of your questions. Diane’s goal for this conference will be to give you direction for protecting your assets, unwinding mistakes you already made. If you decide that bankruptcy is your best option then Diane will explain what not to do before filing. This call is normally 20 to 30 minutes. You will be quoted a fee for our services at this time.
(3) – Get your free credit reports
We will send you a link to the free credit reports at www.AnnualCreditReport.com
(4) – Fill out the information on MyCaseInfo
This is a secure website where you list your assets, creditors (account number, address, etc) and answer several other questions. Once the form is completed we will receive an e-mail notification. Jay will review the information in the form. If you have followed the directions then Diane will call schedule your first appointment. That appointment will last approximately 2 hours. If you did not follow the directions for filling out MyCaseInfo then Jay will call you, and like a good teacher, he will instruct you to how to complete Rapid Import correctly. The foundation for a successful bankruptcy is to complete this form and all subsequent reviews of your documents correctly. Moral: read the directions first. If you are confused once you read the directions then please feel free to call Jay for clarification.
(5) – Complete your credit counseling class (this is usually done on-line).
You can either do this class before or after meeting with Diane for the first meeting, unless you were instructed to wait some time before filing your bankruptcy. This is a discussion you will have in the free telephonic conference which is part of Step two. You must obtain your credit counseling certificate before your second meeting with her.
(6) – You will receive a confirming e-mail regarding your 3 hour meeting with Diane.
If you are married then both spouses must be at all meetings. Attached to the e-mail will be the retainer and disclosure agreements.
(7) – At this meeting you will review the information which was downloaded from MyCaseInfo into our bankruptcy software.
You will bring the signed retainer and disclosure agreements; plus all the documents listed in the e-mail (tax returns, bank statements, revised means test, pay stubs, etc). You will pay one half of the retainer (as quoted during the telephonic discussion). You will receive directions about using your bank accounts, paying bills, etc. At the end of the meeting you will be given a copy of the bankruptcy documents. Now that you have paid a retainer you can now give our name and phone number to your creditors.
(8) – Call us for your last meeting once you have reviewed and edited all the documents from our first meeting and are ready for us to file your bankruptcy.
At the second meeting you are to bring back the edited bankruptcy documents. At the second meeting you will pay the balance of your retainer, plus the court filing fee. You also must bring any new documents since your first meeting: such as new pay stubs or bank statements. At this meeting you and Diane will talk about the timing for her to file your bankruptcy. Please call to set this meeting only AFTER you completed the review and edit of the bankruptcy documents.
(9) – Normally your bankruptcy will be filed a day or two after your second meeting.
You and Diane will decide the timing of filing based on your unique needs and circumstances. You must know the actual balance in all your bank accounts at that time.
(10) – Your bankruptcy has now been filed.
You will receive a copy of the documents that Diane filed with the Bankruptcy Court. Along, with a cover letter which gives you more information about your meeting with the trustee (called the creditor’s meeting – but usually no creditors are there). Her letter will also give you directions about the second class that you must take called a financial management class.
All the creditors listed in your documents will receive notice of bankruptcy.
This mailing will come from the Bankruptcy Notice Center and may take 1-2 weeks before the creditors receive the notice. It may also take the creditors another 1-2 weeks to update their computers. Therefore, if a creditor should contact you after you bankruptcy is filed you should give them the case number (that is on the letter that I sent you when we filed your case), plus our contact information. By law the creditor must stop calling.
(11) – You complete your financial management class and send a copy of the certificate to Jay.
He will file it with the court and send you an email notice.
(12) – The trustee assigned to your case will send you a letter requesting certain documents, such as bank statements, tax returns and other documents.
You already provided most of this information to our office, but there may some information that you have not provided. Each trustee has a different list of document so we are never certain exactly what documents you will need until we receive the letter from the trustee. Normally, the trustee’s letter comes to you, not to us. Therefore, once you receive the letter immediately forward a copy to Jay, along with any requested documents you did not provide us. There is a very tight deadline to send these documents to the trustee so please contact Jay immediately. If you do not receive this letter within 14 days after your bankruptcy is filed please call Jay so he can follow up with your trustee.
(13) – You and Diane will attend the meeting with the trustee (“creditor’s meeting”).
If you fail to provide the requested information to the trustee then most likely your creditor’s meeting will be postponed. This will mean that you have to come down for another meeting, plus Diane will charge a fee for this additional time.
(14) – Assuming you have completed all the steps above you will receive a discharge approximately 90 to 120 days after filing your chapter 7 case.
If this is a chapter 13 case your discharge will not be entered until after you finish your 3-5 year payment.
(15) – You will receive a final letter from Diane after your discharge is entered.
This letter gives you some more information that is very important, such as keeping her informed of any change of address or phone number. This letter reminds you to send the Trustee any information he requested, such as your tax return for the next year or some or all of any tax refund. Your discharge can be revoked if you fail to provide that information to the trustee. You have done a lot of work to get your bankruptcy discharge, so make sure to send the trustee everything they request.
(16) – Closing of your bankruptcy.
Your case will be closed once the trustee completes the required sale or collection of non-exempt assets, if any, plus finishes final paperwork. This could take several months to a of couple years. If all of your property is exempt your case may be closed within a few weeks after the discharge. You can contact our office to determine if your case is closed.
(17) – YEA, You are done!!! Good work!!
You should be very proud of yourself, this was hard work and you deserve a treat. Go to a movie, a game or something that is special; you deserve it.