Bankruptcy FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Answered by Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys

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Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Question List

  1. What is the length of the bankruptcy process after I file for bankruptcy?

  2. Chapter 7 is approximately 90 days from the date of filing to the end of the case if there are no complications or issues. Chapter 13 is a 3-5 year re-payment plan depending on the income of the debtors. Chapter 11 depends on each case.

  3. How do I get started with a bankruptcy attorney for my bankruptcy filing?

  4. Call our office and after gathering some basic information, we will send you our bankruptcy package or you can schedule a free bankruptcy consultation by phone or video or in-person  . Once you have completed our Online Questionaire and gathered the documents, bring in your signed retainer and payment. We will prepare your bankruptcy petition, verify it with you, file it, and represent you at the 341 meeting of your creditors. In a typical case, you will get a discharge from your debts approximately 90 days after you file. There are two courses you are required to take: Credit Counseling before we file and Financial Management within 60 days after the 341 hearing.

  5. Will I lose my IRA, 401K and other retirement account when I file bankruptcy?

  6. Retirement accounts are 100% exempt under federal law and, although limited under MN law, you usually get to keep all retirement funds. This means that they will be protected from creditors and the bankruptcy trustee. The bottom line is that you get to keep your retirement.

  7. How does bankruptcy affect my mortgage loan with my lender and my mortgage payments and credit bureau reporting?

  8. Filing Bankruptcy will affect your mortgage but you can keep your home if you are current in a chapter 7 or you can force a plan to get current in a chapter 13 if you can pay the current payment plus 1/60th of the past due amount. Other factors affect a chapter 13 terms and whether it will work for each client. For more information See How Filing Bankruptcy affects my Mortgage Loan, Reaffirmation in Bankruptcy, Foreclosure and bankruptcy, and Credit Bureau reporting and bankruptcy.

  9. Can I declare bankruptcy and keep my house or keep my car after bankruptcy?

  10. As long as you continue to make the payments on any mortgages or loans you have on the house or car you can keep it. If you are behind in payments, a Chapter 13 can provide a payment plan to make current payments and catch up on past due amounts over 3-5 years. In limited circumstances you may be able to reduce your debt to the value of the property. Call our office for more details. See Foreclosure and Bankrutpcy for more info

  11. I own a small business. What happens to the money my business owes?

  12. We list your business debts on your personal bankruptcy filing. Once your get a discharge in your bankruptcy case, you personally will not owe the debt, but your business will continue to owe that money if you file chapter 7 or chapter 13 individually. If your business is out of business and has no assets or money, then that is usually not a problem for you. If your business is still operating then it is obligated to pay those debts unless it becomes insolvent and goes out of business or files Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  13. Do I have to include all of my creditors if I am filing for bankruptcy?

  14. Yes, you must include everybody you owe any money to including friends and family. You may voluntarily re-affirm or re-pay debts after you file but you cannot pay one creditor prior to filing and then file bankruptcy on the rest. This is called a preferential payment and may be reversed by the trustee to distribute to all creditors.

  15. Can I file for bankruptcy as an individual when I am married and my spouse is not filing bankruptcy?

  16. Yes, one person can file even though they are married, but there is still reporting requirements for both spouses similar to a joint filing. A married person filing individual is not cheaper to file. Call our law firm for more details on your situation and how this may affect you.

  17. Are there income limitations and income requirements for my bankruptcy filing?

  18. Yes, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) requires that the person must qualify to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy based on income and prove that they are actually unable to afford their debt payments. This amount, known as the median family income, changes every few months based on the economy in each geographical area. If you are below that amount, you automatically qualify to file and if you are above you will need to fill out additional forms to prove that your debts are more than your income and you cannot afford to repay your debts. If you can afford to repay some of the debt, you may qualify for a chapter 13 filing instead of chapter 7. Call your attorney to see if you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

  19. What information do I have to provide to my bankruptcy lawyer or the bankruptcy court?

  20. We have a list of documents that you need to gather and an Online Questionaire on our website for you to complete. Basically you need to provide information on all assets you own and all debts you owe along with any transfers of either assets or debts.

  21. When listing my assets for bankruptcy filing do I need to count each utensil in my kitchen?

  22. You must list all of your assets in the questionnaire under various categories. This does not require you to count how many forks or spoons you own but you should put a value to things such as kitchen appliances and furniture, bedroom furniture, TV, computer, and other assets you have in each category.

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