The bankruptcy process is one that is intensive and requires a keen attention to detail. While a majority of individuals who file for bankruptcy acquire the legal counsel of a local bankruptcy attorney, many believe they can handle it independently. Someone who lacks the knowledge on specific state and Chapter rules can easily find themselves confusing a discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy with a dismissal.
A discharge means that the lenders have entirely forgiven the eligible debts you have listed in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The owners of the debt — the creditors — can no longer pursue collection of the debt when a bankruptcy filing is discharged. Contrastly, a dismissal means that a judge closed the case without granting your request for a discharge. This ruling permits creditors to resume collection. Here are four other common bankruptcy case mistakes.
Filing Partial Petition
People are often in a rush when filing for bankruptcy — that is likely the reason why so many forego acquiring legal services. In this haste to jump-start the process, many choose to submit the partial petition. This is relevant paperwork, but it does not complete the filing process.
The complete petition containing the list of creditors, payment schedules, and much more must be sent to the courts within 14 days of submitting the partial petition. Failure to do so will result in an automatic case dismissal.
Not Disclosing Tax Returns
In the initial meeting with the court-appointed trustee, the individual filing for bankruptcy must present a copy of their tax returns or IRS transcripts. Forgetting this crucial step can stop the bankruptcy process before it starts as the trustee will likely file a Motion to Dismiss the petition. The individual will then have no choice but to wait 180 days to refile.
Missing the 341 Meeting
Also known as the meeting of creditors, the 341 meeting is the applicant’s first opportunity to meet the trustee. This meeting is required by law as the trustee must verify the identity of the individual filing the petition, as well as swear him or her in. The trustee will also ask questions about finances and bankruptcy petition specifics. Failure to attend or reschedule this meeting beforehand will result in a case dismissal.
Skipping Debtor Education Class
The debtor education class is typically the final phase in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is much like the pre-filing credit counseling class that individuals must take at the beginning of the process. The individual must fulfill this course requirement and supply his or her trustee with the certification of completion or risk a case dismissal.
Don’t let a small mishap ruin your bankruptcy case. Trust the bankruptcy attorneys at E. Orum Young Law Offices to provide adequate and thorough legal representation. We have filed the most bankruptcy cases in Northeast Louisiana, and would like you to trust us to properly manage yours. Our Trial Guarantee ensures that we will take your case to trial per your request. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.