At Lynch Law LLC, we want you to know what you can expect at every step in the bankruptcy process. It is important you know what to expect from your attorney and what your responsibilities may be along the way.
You can expect to encounter these steps:
- Initial consultation
- Retaining the attorney
- Signing your bankruptcy
- Filing your bankruptcy
- 341 meeting
Initial ConsultationDuring your initial consultation with one of our Naperville bankruptcy lawyers, we will review your financial situation and discuss any immediate issues such as pending wage garnishments or home foreclosures.
Your attorney will also:
- Discuss which Chapter of bankruptcy you will be able to file
- Explain how long the process will take and which debts will be discharged.
- Review the retainer agreement listing the costs and fees of filing your bankruptcy petition and, if necessary, arrange a payment plan that fits your needs
- Answer any additional questions you have
We always ask our potential clients to bring as much information as possible to their initial consultation. The more information you bring us, the better we will be able to advise you and the more productive the consultation will be. Of course, if you decide not to retain our firm after your consultation, you are free to take all your documents home with you.
Once you have decided to move forward with filing bankruptcy, you can retain the attorney by making a down payment toward the total cost of the bankruptcy and signing the retainer agreement.
We will then open your file and you will receive an email with the instructions to complete the pre-filing credit counseling course and a list of additional information needed to file your bankruptcy petition. You can continue to send payments toward the balance of your fees and contact us with any questions or concerns you have.
Additionally, you can inform your creditors that you have retained an attorney for bankruptcy. Give them our name and telephone number and they will begin to call our office to check on the status of your case rather than bother you. This will hopefully ease some of the pressure caused by nagging phone calls to your home, cell phone, and office.
When your bankruptcy petition is filed, you will be sent a complete copy. This is to serve as another opportunity for you to review the petition and make sure everything is accurate and complete.
You will also receive your bankruptcy case number, which you may use to:
- Give to any creditors calling to collect on debts listed in the bankruptcy. Though by law creditors are no longer allowed to contact you once the bankruptcy is filed, it may take some time for them to receive notice and update their system.
- Complete the second credit counseling course. This course is to be completed post-filing and should be finished by the date of your 341 meeting.
You will also receive information regarding the date, time, and location of your 341 meeting.
At the 341 meeting, you will be questioned under oath by your bankruptcy trustee and creditors about your financial affairs. If you have assets with values in excess of the available exemptions, the trustee will try to gather information to aid in the liquidation of those assets to pay creditors.
Keep in mind that:
- The trustee schedules 12 meetings per hour, meaning your meeting will only last a few minutes.
- Creditors do not have to attend the 341 meeting to file a claim or object to a discharge. In most cases, it will just be you, your attorney, and the trustee.
- You do not have to justify filing a bankruptcy petition; this is simply a fact-finding meeting where you will be asked yes or no questions about the information listed in your petition.
It is very important that you are prepared for the 341 meeting with the appropriate forms of identification.
If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, you can expect to receive your discharge 8-10 weeks after the date of your 341 meeting. If you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will receive your discharge after your last plan payment.
Once you are discharged, the bankruptcy process is completed. You are released from personal liability for debts listed in your bankruptcy petition and the creditors owed those debts cannot take any action against you to collect. The discharge prohibits the creditors from communicating with you regarding the debt, including telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.
Your bankruptcy can be reported on your credit report for 10 years from the date you filed. After discharge, you are entitled under federal law to have the balance of each discharged debt reported as zero.
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