Navigating a chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a tricky and overwhelming process. With the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney, and our handy list here, we’ll have you familiar with the do’s and don’ts of a chapter 7 in no time at all.
Be ENTIRELY HONEST with your attorney. He/She can only represent you effectively (and ethically) if he/she knows all the facts.
List ALL of your creditors in you schedules, even those which you intend to pay back (such as friends/family) and those you must pay (such as taxes or child support).
Continue making you regular monthly payments on your mortgage, car loan, etc., if you want to keep the property. Be aware that some secured creditors (especially car lenders) might stop sending you a monthly statement after you file; this does not excuse you from needing to timely make the monthly payment on the day it is due, as opposed to the date there is a late fee.
Ask questions until you feel comfortable that you understand the answers which your attorney is providing you. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION!
DON’T pay off a creditor immediately before filing your bankruptcy, unless you have cleared it with your attorney in advance. Especially do not pay any money or transfer property to a relative for any reason whatsoever without talking to your attorney.
DON’T ignore requests for documents from the Trustee appointed to your case; he can have your discharge denied for lack of cooperation.
DON’T sell, transfer, or give away any of your property prior to the filing of your bankruptcy without first discussing is with your attorney.
DON’T continue paying your dischargeable, unsecured debts (such as credit cards) after you have decided you are filing bankruptcy, but before you file. You are just throwing money away. Once you have retained a lawyer, simply refer all of your creditors who call to your attorney.
DON’T forget to list any of your creditors, their collection agents or attorneys. People who are not listed in your petition will not receive notice from the bankruptcy court and will continue contacting you.
DON’T hide any information from your attorney or the Trustee appointed to your case. This especially applies to non-disclosure of debts to family members or friends prior to filing bankruptcy.
By Bill Turner, W M Law Attorney