Lisa Guerin is the author or co-author of several Nolo books, including The Manager's Legal Handbook, Dealing with Problem Employees, The Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws, The Essential Guide to Family & Medical Leave, Workplace Investigations, and Create Your Own Employee Handbook. Guerin has practiced employment law in government, public interest, and private practice, where she has represented clients at all levels of state and federal courts and in agency proceedings. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law.
Articles By Lisa Guerin
A typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is relatively straightforward. You will spend most of your time completing the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and other forms, which will require you to list your debts, assets, financial transactions, and so on. Once you've filed your paperwork, the bankruptcy trustee takes over your case.
If you are married and considering bankruptcy, you'll have to decide whether to file separately (that is, only one spouse files for bankruptcy and the other is not part of the case) or jointly (both spouses file together).
During your bankruptcy case, whether you file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you will have to attend a meeting with your creditors and the bankruptcy trustee in charge of your case.
If you receive an inheritance after filing for bankruptcy, it might become part of your bankruptcy estate. In a Chapter 7 case, this means the trustee can take the inheritance unless it's protected by an exemption. In a Chapter 13 case, receiving an inheritance could increase the amount you have to repay to your creditors.
Once you file for bankruptcy, you are required to meet with your trustee and creditors before the bankruptcy court can rule to discharge your debts. This meeting is called the 341 meeting, the meeting of creditors, or the creditors' meeting. The 341 meeting is the only time the trustee and creditors can ask you questions while you are under oath and on record.
Once you have decided that filing for bankruptcy is your best option, it's time to get started on your paperwork. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to complete a fairly large packet of forms with the bankruptcy court.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee has the right to take back property or money that the debtor improperly gave away before filing. "Clawback" is the term used to describe this power, which allows the trustee to regain assets should have been part of the debtor's bankruptcy estate, but were removed or hidden from the trustee by the debtor by means of preferential or fraudulent transfers.