Step 1: Your free phone call
There is no charge or obligation for your free bankruptcy consultation.
Step 2: Your free Debt Consultation
At your appointment, you will meet with an experienced Minnesota bankruptcy attorney to discuss your case.
We gather from you the information necessary to understand your situation, including your:
We analyze your situation and tell you about your options and answer your questions and concerns.
We will tell you how bankruptcy works, what needs to be done before you file, what it does and does not do, and what it costs.
Whether or not bankruptcy is an option for you, up to this point, there is no obligation whatsoever.
That is, you are free to find out about your options and to get your questions answered….for FREE …and then leave, no strings attached.
Filling out these forms and bringing them with you, will help us and you to better understand your financial situation.
You might want to bring $50 with you, because that is all it takes to retain us in most cases. Retaining us means hiring us. After you hire us, you can refer the creditors to our office and not talk to them. The $50 goes towards our fees, of course.
Step 3: Gather the papers we need to prepare your bankruptcy and credit counseling
Back at home, you will gather up for us all your bills, documents and other information necessary to get your case filed.
Once you know that filing bankruptcy is right for you….this part of the process is fun.
Because this will be the last time you will have to deal with these bills.
After you make the decision to file bankruptcy, and as long as you follow through with your filing, it’s like telling us: “Here are my bills….You deal with them.”
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. This 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 to three weeks after we receive your documents and papers, you come in for a finish-up conference in our offices.
At the conference we finish up your bankruptcy petition, usually around 50 pages, and you review and 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.
- Sue you
- 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 case, we will attend the Meeting of Creditors or the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 341 Hearing.
This meeting is the creditor’s opportunity to show up and ask you questions.
Mostly, however, creditors do NOT show up.
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’ or ‘gatekeeper’ for the Court.
Their job is to review the schedules filed in your case and to examine you to make sure you told the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…so help you God”.
In most cases, that’s all that happens at this meeting.
It usually takes less than 15 minutes.
Step 7: Financial Management course
In the month after our creditors meeting, you need to complete a financial management course.
This takes about 2 hours and our office will provide you with the contact and case information you need.
Most people find it gives them useful information and is usually interesting.
Step 8: Repayment plan
You will need to perform the financial repayment as directed by your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan.
Since the repayment takes place over 3-to-5 years, your circumstances may change and a modification to Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan may be needed.
Step 9: Discharge
After successful repayment of your debt, the Court issues your discharge.
The discharge is the court order that says you no longer owe your bills.
It goes further and is a court order that forbids creditors from trying to collect.
There are some debts that Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not work on, which include:
- Child support
- Student loans
- Most taxes
The foregoing steps assume that everything in your case proceeds as originally planned and anticipated, which is almost always the case.
Think that Chapter 13 Bankruptcy might be right for you?
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