A typical consumer bankruptcy filing consists of 60 or more pages of paperwork, so what is involved depends on your unique situation.
It involves many state laws and federal laws, both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy. There are bankruptcy classes required for consumers; tax returns and payroll information which must be file with the court. Failure to do any of these things will mean the automatic dismissal of your bankruptcy. In addition to the mounds of paperwork, there are strict deadlines and procedures, which if not followed will lead to the bankruptcy being dismissed.
“If you are going to file bankruptcy, do it right the first time. Hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney. It is not expensive, and in the long run you will save money, protect your property, as well as your sanity. There is no substitute for quality and experience.” Diane L. Drain
There is little consistency between the laws of various jurisdictions.
Sometimes the state laws or procedural rules within one state differ dramatically from their neighboring state. Many of the bankruptcy laws vary from state to state and, sometimes, from debtor to debtor. Each state has a list of property that is protected for the residents of that state – referred to as exempt property. What may seem perfectly reasonable for one debtor may cause another to lose his or her car or bank account. For example, in one state a person can file a bankruptcy and live in a million dollar house while in another state that person could risk their second TV set.
If the forms are not filled out correctly, or if you have failed to properly protect your assets, it may be too late to correct the problems once the documents are filed with the court.
The documents are examined by officials of the court and your creditors – some of whom are representing interests that do not coincide with yours and would like nothing better but to take away assets because you did not protect them properly.
Once you retain our firm then all your creditors are required by federal law to stop calling you, but instead they are to call us. Diane and Jay (Diane’s paralegal) will guide you through the required classes, documents and information gather process. All clients meet with Diane for at least 4 to 6 hours before any bankruptcy is filed. Diane or Jay are always available to answer any questions you may have.
There are usually issues that must be taken care of before a bankruptcy can be filed, if possible.
Pre-bankruptcy Planning is important for everyone, even the simplest of bankruptcies. Payments made to family can result in a suit against that family or friend. Filing bankruptcy can result in the loss of the tax refunds or other monies owed to the person filing bankruptcy. All those issues will be clarified and paths designed to deal with each.
If a bankruptcy is not appropriate Diane will explain the alternatives. If bankruptcy is appropriate Diane will explain the options.
Once both you and Diane have decided the best time for filing your bankruptcy, then our office will take care of filing the documents with the Bankruptcy Court. You will receive a copy of all documents sent or received by our office. At the time of the filing your documents will be assigned a case number That number is important. You can give that number to any creditors that call. Technically, from the date of filing all creditors, including the IRS, are prohibited from contacting you. They are restricted to working directly with your attorney.
Appointment of the Bankruptcy Trustee
At the time your documents are filed a bankruptcy Trustee will be appointed. That Trustee’s job is to make sure that your documents are complete and review your list of assets for items that are not protected by law. All of this will be explained during your meetings with Ms. Drain.
The meeting of creditors.
A creditor’s meeting will be scheduled and you will receive notice from the Bankruptcy Court and this office as to that date, time and location. It is absolutely imperative that you attend that meeting.