The most difficult of part of the bankruptcy process, for some, is the initial decision. Once you have done that, it can help to know what to expect in the next few months. Most bankruptcies take a matter of months to be complete, depending on the court case load in your federal district. Read on to learn more about the simple steps that make up a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
Get documents together: You can expect to provide quite a bit of paperwork for your bankruptcy petition, so begin to gather the following documents and information as soon as possible after you make your decision to file. If you can gather this documentation together and organize it, you can expect a quicker filing and a quicker final resolution:
- Your creditor information; if you owe money to someone, you will need the name of the loan company or credit card card company, a phone number and address, the account numbers, and the balance you still owe.
- Income information, such as pay stubs or statements.
- A copy of your most recent tax documents and proof that you paid any amounts owed.
- Information about your other financial obligations, such as child support or spousal support.
Most of the paperwork needed will be used to prepare your creditor's matrix and other affidavits.
Take the classes: Bankruptcy codes require filers to undergo two different types of bankruptcy-related classes. One is to be done prior to filing, so make sure you get this one out of way as soon as possible. The other one is to be done before your bankruptcy becomes final.
File your petition and attend the 341 meeting. Your bankruptcy package must be filed with the federal district court. You will be given a date for your 341 meeting, also known as the creditor's meeting. You will need photo I.D. and your Social Security card to get into the meeting, so plan ahead for that. In some cases, prior to your 341 meeting, the bankruptcy trustee (or their representative) will inspect your property and evaluate it for seizure purposes. You will know ahead of time what you may need to surrender, so there's no need to be nervous about this inspection.
Await the final discharge of your bankruptcy: Not long after the 341 meeting, you can expect to get your final discharge papers in the mail. Be sure make the most of having the opportunity to make a fresh start by using credit more wisely in the future and saving for those rainy days.