As you’ve probably already learned, there are different types of bankruptcy. Your personal financial situation will dictate which is best for you, but in many cases, individuals who opt for bankruptcy file for Chapter 7. This type of bankruptcy allows them to discharge all or a portion of their debt, depending on the type they’ve accumulated, and get a clean, fresh start financially speaking.
It’s not an option for everyone, but if you qualify for Chapter 7, it can be one of the best financial decisions you ever make. Unfortunately, it can also be daunting to get started and make the most of your bankruptcy opportunity. What are a few of the things you should know as you move forward with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Things to Be Done before You File
Many people are surprised to learn there are several things that need to be taken care of before they file for bankruptcy. The process is not as simple as “declaring” bankruptcy and having your debts eliminated. Before you can even file, you must assess your financial situation and consider your reasons for filing.
If you are not sure why you want to file or if it’s right for you, you’ll be forced to confront this decision in the mandatory credit counseling class you must take in order to file. This counseling class must be taken within a window of time prior to filing and your certificate of completion must be submitted along with your other bankruptcy paperwork. Counseling helps you understand the terms and conditions of bankruptcy, so you do not file thinking bankruptcy will help you only to realize its benefits do not apply in your case.
You can learn more about pre-bankruptcy credit counseling here.
Finally, before you file, you’ll want to make a few financial changes that will increase the likelihood your bankruptcy will be approved. You might need to stop paying one of your bills or avoid making a large purchase. A bankruptcy attorney can review with you all the things you’ll need to do or stop doing in order to file.
Ready to File?
Now that you’ve taken all of the necessary pre-bankruptcy actions, you can begin the filing process. Your attorney will assist you in gathering the necessary paperwork and filling out the various forms. It’s very important these forms be complete and accurate – otherwise your bankruptcy can be denied.
You’ll also need to prepare for the Meeting of Creditors. This is when creditors and the bankruptcy trustee will ask you questions and discuss your bankruptcy. It can seem like an intimidating experience, but your attorney will be at your side helping you through it, so there’s really no need to worry.
In order to receive a discharge of your debts, you’ll need to complete an additional financial education course, debtor education. This is a great opportunity to learn how to manage your finances and how to avoid having to file for bankruptcy again in the future.
Finally, you reach the best part of filing for bankruptcy – your debts are discharged. Keep in mind there are certain debts that cannot be discharged, so you’ll need to continue paying those debts to avoid additional credit problems. Also make sure you keep any paperwork about the discharge, in case you need to prove in the future that you are no longer liable for a debt.
If you would like more information about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to schedule a consultation.