8 Steps to Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Step 1: Your free phone call
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Minnesota starts with a phone call to set you up with a totally FREE & CONFIDENTIAL debt consultation at one of our four convenient metro locations in Minneapolis, St Paul, Blaine and Brooklyn Park.
Our staff is knowledgeable and understanding and will treat you with the respect that you deserve. There is absolutely no charge or obligation at your free consultation.
You might want to fill out these forms and bring them with you, which will help us and you to better understand your financial situation.
Step 2: Your Free Debt Consultation
We will explain how bankruptcy works and what you can expect out of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. You will get a detailed step-by-step break down of how the process works and your total cost to file it. This is a confidential and totally Free Bankruptcy Consultation with no obligation to file and no strings attached. In other words, you are not loosing anything by coming in and talking to us.
While the conference is free, you may wish to bring just $50.00 with you. $50.00 is the minimum amount of money for a client to retain, or hire, our services. After you hire us, you can refer your creditors to us and not talk to them. The $50 goes towards our fees, of course.
Step 3: Gather the papers we need to prepare your bankruptcy & Complete Credit Counseling.
Back at home; you will gather all your bills, documents and other information necessary to get your case filed. Once you know that filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you, this part of the process is fun. Why? Because this is the last time you will have to deal with your bills. Once you have the information gathered, we offer an appointment in our office with one of our staff to review the documents and make sure that you have the right paperwork and to make sure that we have answered all of your questions. We will also get you set up with Credit Counseling at that time. Credit Counseling takes about an hour of your time and can be done online or over the phone, even after business hours.
Step 4: Your finish-up appointment.
Two weeks after we receive your documents and papers, you come in for a finish-up conference in our office. At the conference we will review the paperwork with you, explain all the different parts of it and have you sign it.
Step 5: Filing your case with the Court
We file the final signed documents with the Court by electronic filing over the Internet. When your case is filed with the Court, the Court issues a court order called the “automatic stay” that says nobody can do anything to collect a debt from you. They can’t sue you, they can’t garnish, repossess, foreclose or anything else. They can’t even talk to you, and they certainly can’t harass you.
If they violate the automatic stay, we can sue them for Contempt of Court. The creditors will leave you alone after the case is filed. If they don’t, the Court will fine them.
Step 6: The meeting of creditors (341 hearing)
About 30 days after we file your bankruptcy case, we will attend the Meeting of Creditors or the 341 Hearing. This meeting is the creditor’s opportunity to show up and ask you questions. However, creditors do NOT show up. Why? Because bankruptcy protection is powerful and because the creditors know there is NOT much they can do. In most cases this meeting would be more appropriately called “Meeting Your Trustee”. You can think of your Trustee as a sort of “bookkeeper/gatekeeper” for the Court. His job is to review the schedules filed in your case and to examine you to make sure you told” the truth, and the whole truth…so help you God”. In most cases, that’s all that happens at this meeting. It is usually over in less than 5 minutes.
Step 7: Financial Management course
In the month after our 341 meeting you need to complete a financial management course. This takes about 2 hours and is usually arranged by our office. Most people find it gives them useful information and is interesting.
Step 8: Discharge
About 3 months after we file your bankruptcy case, the Court issues your discharge. The discharge is the court order that says you don’t owe your bills. It goes further and is a court order that forbids creditors from trying to collect. There are some debts that Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not work on. These include child support, student loans and most taxes.
The foregoing steps assume that everything in your case proceeds as originally planned and anticipated, which is almost always the case.
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